Motherhood, Parenting

Imagine if you could not afford clothes for your kids?

Carla McConnell by Carla McConnell
June 13th, 2017

I’m normally a pretty calm and collected woman, but when I brought home my first child I was freaking out BIG time. Would she sleep okay? (The answer is no). Would I be able to breastfeed? Would I be able to keep this tiny, fragile being that I loved more than anything safe? I remember gently placing my daughter in the car seat when leaving the hospital and feeling absolutely terrified because I had NO idea what I was doing. And also kind of surprised they were letting me take her home considering my complete lack of mothering experience.

However in all my new mum panic, I still had a home to go to, a carseat to take her there, and a cot for her to sleep in. I had nappies stocked and a decorated nursery and relatives knocking down the door offering help. There is so much I take for granted every day.

One in six children in Australia are born into poverty. This number is way too high. That is so many mums who, as much as they love their children, are actually unable to provide for them. Refugees, homeless women, mums escaping domestic violence. I can’t imagine anything worse than the complete helplessness of wanting to keep my child safe but not being able to.

Jessica McPherson was a new mum to a baby boy when she gave her Maternal and Child Health Nurse some old clothes he had grown out of to pass on. She was told to put them in the photocopy room that was chock full of donated clothes that the nurses didn’t have time to sort through. So Jessie grabbed a few girlfriends to sort through and repackage all the clothes…and St Kilda Mums was born.

St Kilda Mums collects donated items from mums who no longer need them and clean, repackage, and make sure they meet safety requirements before giving them to mums who really need them. It’s a simple idea but totally brilliant. Since 2009, St Kilda Mums, Geelong Mums and Eureka Mums have re-homed over 100,000 items. In 2016 alone this represented a saving of $4.4 million to the Victorian community.

That is an incredible amount of lives changed.

St Kilda Mums supported Dannii Minogue and CEO Jessica McPherson

St Kilda Mums supporter Dannii Minogue and CEO Jessica McPherson

We sat down with Jessie to get some more info on the mums they help and what we can ALL do to help:

Who are the mums that you are helping everyday?

St Kilda Mums supports mums from all different backgrounds. The focus is on helping children and parents experiencing hardship which may come from displacement, job loss, domestic violence or mental illness to name a few causes of disadvantage. Material aid is provided in practical partnership with maternal child health nurses and social service agencies, this also takes away the need for someone to ask for help themselves, a task people often find difficult. All donations go directly to a particular family and each item to someone who specifically needs it.

St Kilda Mums also run an assortment of different fundraisers during the year that are tailored to specific needs. The recent ‘One Mother to Another’ campaign had hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous toiletry bags, lovingly put together by our wonderful donors, that were given out via our social worker network, for Mother’s Day, ensuring these mums had not only the basic necessities, but a gift on a special day as well.

What has been one case that has really stuck with you?

 Yes – this is a story of a mum who was new to Australia and being supported by a translator when visiting her Maternal and Child Health nurse. The nurse was explaining that she should never hold formula over and reheat it. In the car on the way home she admitted to her translator that she had no choice but to save undrunk formula for the next feed as she could not afford the next can of formula. This really rocked me.

What are the statistics on women who need these kind of services?

It is estimated that one in six Australian children live in poverty. With 300,000 births each year, a large number of babies are born into need.


Do you think the need for organisations like St Kilda Mums will keep growing?

Unfortunately yes. The three biggest cause of disadvantage are refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, family violence and homelessness. With increased spotlight global inequality, increased awareness of family violence and the homelessness that often occurs as a result of family violence the need is likely to increase.

We focus on our mission to rehome quality baby and children’s items and save them from landfill. We hope that in the future in every town and region in Australia there will be somewhere like St Kilda Mums to gift your pre-loved items too.

How can people help out? 

 Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and please sign up for our newsletter so you learn what we need donations of and hear all the good your donations will do.

Please donate your much-loved  baby gear to us – we promise to give it to someone who will really value and appreciate it.

We need volunteers. There are numerous tasks for volunteers – from sorting donations, repairing and safety checking prams and cots, cleaning and packing donations of bottles and nappies, meeting with social workers to help them choose the best items for their family, and general office based admin tasks.

If people can’t physically help in person, a monthly donation assists us in the running costs of St Kilda Mums and for every $140 we raise, we can buy a cot and mattress and provide a safe place for a new baby to sleep.

If you can please support St Kilda Mums on June 14th (that’s tomorrow!) from 12pm when they have a 24 hour campaign where every cent you donate within this 24 hours will be quadrupled by generous Matchers!! Check out the details here for an incredible chance to help lots of mums in need.

Show +Tell are proud to be a media partner of St Kilda Mums and support their amazing work.