A WORKING bee for a group of mums hoping to help out maternal health nurses has turned into a full-time passion which is supporting in need families all around the country.
Jessica Macpherson, the founder of St Kilda Mums, which has grown to include Geelong Mums and Eureka Mums, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for her services to the community and the not-for-profit sector.
Ms Macpherson, who migrated to Australia from New Zealand in 2005, said she was overwhelmed to have received one of Australia’s highest honours.
“It was such a simple idea,” Ms Macpherson said. “For me, it started when my second child was born in February 2009,
“I woke up in hospital and all people were talking about was the Black Saturday fires. At that time in Victoria there was a huge outpouring and people were motivated to do a lot.
“I had friends who were sorting donations for fire victims, there were a lot of baby things being donated that no-one could do anything with and I discovered a lot of op-shops no longer accepted baby items.
“The fact was op-shops were run by volunteers who were not necessarily skilled with nursery equipment. As a mum, I had that knowledge.”
Ms Macpherson said she took some items into a maternal health nurse in St Kilda who suggested she put them in the photocopy room
”I walked in there and it was stacked, there were some good quality items some not good quality. On the spot I volunteered.
“My son was three weeks old, we got our mothers group together and pulled everything out and brought along some doona bags and labels, we sorted things into, this was for baby, this was for two years old, this is breast pump and the nurses were just so overwhelmed.
“The joy we experienced of knowing we were doing something valuable. We imagined how good the mums would feel when they open the bags. It was such a simple idea but no one else was doing it.”
From that small beginning in 2009, St Kilda Mums grew to include Geelong in 2013, followed by Eureka Mums in 2014.
“We’ve really consolidated In those cities and with that we can reach 85 per cent of the population,” she said.
We have amazing support from Victorian Freight Services who are delivering to every city in Victoria completely free. We’re now in 71 or the 79 local government areas as well as having branches in every state and territory except the Northern Territory.”
Ms Macpherson said she wished to thank, volunteers, donors, social workers, drivers, supporters and mums across the state.