Almost 1700 babies and children have received “bundles of love” from Eureka Mums over the past year as poverty and need continues to bite in the Ballarat region.
The volunteer organisation, which rehomes children’s clothes and baby essentials such as cots, prams, car seats and other nursery essentials, filled the needs of 518 babies and 1171 children in the Ballarat region during the past year.
Demand from the volunteer charity, and its sister branches St Kilda Mums and Geelong Mums, grew 37 per cent – a combination of more families struggling and the group increasing the children’s clothing sizes supplied from size 10 to size 16 to cater for primary school aged children.
Eureka Mums operations manager Trinsa Lewis said the value of the items rehomed in the Ballarat region in the past 12 months was $435,640.
“We want it to be a gift. We want the recipient to feel good about what they are getting – it’s not a hand out, it’s a hand up to let them know people out there do care about them.”
Volunteers sort through donated clothes and nursery goods which undergo strict safety checks to ensure they comply with Australian standards and are in good condition. Donations are then made in to bundles – enough for a baby or child through the different seasons for a year – and case workers or social workers pick up items for their clients.
Eureka Mums deal with 33 different agencies and support services with clients from as far afield as Melton and Ballarat, though the bulk of demand is from the Ballarat area.
“They are families that have already taken that step to say we need a hand, we need some help. Case workers, social workers, medical practitioners are able to put in a request and ask for the items which they collect.
“They go to families that are at risk of homelessness or are homeless, families who have been affected by domestic violence, families struggling for medical reasons, and we support a lot of foster care families particularly kinship care.”
The group began accepting larger clothes – up to child’s size 16 – to be able to help children right through primary school.
Across the three mums charities, it cost $118 to help a child, taking the operating budget of the group and dividing it among the number of children helped. That figure includes rent, bills, salaries and purchase of stock.
“When you think that just one item of nursery equipment would cost a family hundreds of dollars at the shops, this is really something. It's only possible for two reasons; because of the donations we receive from the community, and because we are powered by volunteers,” she said.
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