The Oishi-m mama's are proud to have recently volunteered at Geelong Mums, an awe-inspiring organisation based in Geelong, Vic. They do an incredible job re-homing new and pre-loved baby goods and nursery equipment to families in need, and believe that by reusing and recycling much-loved babies’ and children’s gear, they not only share the joy of motherhood with each other, but also save the earth’s precious resources too.
They are a local not for profit organisation that provide material aid in practical partnership with maternal child health nurses and social service agencies (up to 350 case workers access the service on behalf of their clients). All donations of clothing, car seats, prams, cots, nappies, high chairs, linen, toys and more go directly to the families that they support, and each item to someone who specifically needs it.
Their vision "is a future where we waste less, share more and care for every baby and child."
Powered by hundreds of volunteers and a handful of part-time staff members, the ever-increasing needs of this region's families means they warmly welcome groups of corporate volunteers. As a team we all jumped at the opportunity to dedicate some time to helping sort, size and package donated clothes and goods, and do whatever was needed to help the 'Geelong Mum angels' meet their deadlines.
The scene of a highly organised warehouse space, where everything has it's place, and incoming goods can be processed with speed and efficiency. Clothing bags can contain up to 100 items, catering for a child for all seasons in a year, including something lovely for a special occasion. Volunteers ask themselves 'How can this child/family feel like a valued member of the community?' when choosing clothing for the love packs.
Across two separate visits, we unpacked deliveries, grouped footwear and clothing donations by age and gender, and created linen packs, utensil/feeding packs and book bundles. Our Love Packs were also labelled with it's own "packed by..." sticker to personalise the giving, personalising the delivery which we feel is symbolic of a big hug for the recipient.
Our team were so touched by the love and generosity displayed by this organisation and individuals who support children and parents experiencing hardship. The systems in place and the speed in which people in need can access much needed goods in 'Grab and Go' bags were thoroughly well thought out, and ready for collection assigned by childrens' age, gender and seasonal appropriateness for families in need.
While we were there we experienced an urgent pick up request by a visiting Social Worker, and felt the enormity of the situation of a family in need as we hurriedly helped to select suitable items for a 5 year old boy and his younger female sibling. Every item is inspected for cleanliness and one must always ask oneself, "would I gift this item to a friend" when determining the quality of the pack's contents. It really brought it home to us that our time spent here directly helps a vulnerable side of our community, and gave us a massive dose of perspective - needless to say, we sent off the Love Packs with abundant good vibes to their new owners...
The Tinker Fairies work tirelessly, checking over all manner of donated goods including prams, portacots, high chairs and car restraints for key safety tests before they can be rehomed. Geelong Mums couldn't help as many families as they do, without these very special safety angels (and we got the feeling these guys couldn't imagine life without this lovely network of people either)...
Geelong Mums accept donations of recycled nursery equipment like cots, prams, car seats, as well as clothes and other baby essentials. If you would like to offer your support, please visit Geelong Mums to see how you can help from near or far.
We recently celebrated our team at the Geelong Mum's Lunch 2018, a huge fundraiser that raised over $81,000 to help support and continue what they do. What a phenomenal achievement, and a way to give back to our community.
Our staff members thoroughly enjoyed the visits, and shared that "We love seeing how people can give so much, in such a dignified and respectful manner.. even their logo (embracing with heart), makes us feel like jumping into the core of it and volunteering." Back at our office and shop, we re-grouped to share our thoughts, insights, what we learned from the experience of volunteering, and the overall our team referenced the good-natured easy friendliness, and an undying bonhomie that radiates from this place, from these people.
If you're ever interested in donating or volunteering for organisations such as Geelong Mum's there are also other affliated organisations in other areas as well.
Eureka Mum's - Ballarat area
St Kilda Mum's - Melbourne
Dandelion Support Network - Sydney. You can read this blog post for more info.
Let's all continue to look after one another xxx