Donating at Christmas

Each year before Christmas comes, I like to go through the house with the kids and sort out what we no longer need, but still works and would be useful to others. Today I wanted to share with you a couple local places in Melbourne that could use your help, if like me you have household/baby items that are in good condition that you no longer need.

St Kilda Mums

St Kilda Mums High Chair
I wish I knew about St Kilda Mums about six months ago. We had a garage sale last year and couldn’t even give away a few items, things like our pram and high chair (good condition). Places like Vinnies and the Salvation Army will no longer take these items, so they ended up going into the hard rubbish collection at the start of this year.

This seemed like such a waste to me on a couple of levels. These were items that although a few years old, were in perfect working order, clean and tidy. The fact they were going to land fill seemed so wasteful. I knew there would be families out there that needed this type of stuff, but didn’t know how to find them.

St Kilda Mums was started in February 2009 by a group of mums who were frustrated by this same problem. It has now grown to become a network of nearly 450 families that responds to requests from nearly 200 local social workers and maternal child health nurses on behalf of families in need. St Kilda Mums is run and staffed solely by volunteers who help match needs of families suffering hardship with families who had something to give.

Items you can donate:
You can make a donation of clothing, toys or nursery gear your children have outgrown. Here is a list of the most commonly requested items:

  • clothing 0000 to 5 years: freshly laundered please
  • toys: plastic, wooden and small soft toys
  • shoes: if not too worn and scuffed
  • nappies and other baby change items
  • bunny rugs, blankets, baby linen and towels
  • breast pumps, (bottles & teats if as new)
  • highchairs, prams and strollers, bouncers
  • cots, security gates, car seats, baby bjorns

They cannot accept electrical items though as they are not covered by their insurance.

You can find out more information on the St Kilda Mums website and you can also join St Kilda Mums on facebook where they update the most urgent requests from families in need.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

I am a little bit behind with my donations to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), but I shall be remedying that next week. You can see in detail exactly what the ASRC does here, but some of their key activities are provision of essential items, counselling and provision of services for employment and training for asylum seekers.

The treatment of refugees in Australia is one of the most shameful things the last few federal government have on their records. The asylum seeker issue in Australia has transcended sensible debate and is now a political farce, with innocent men, women and children suffering in the process.

If you want to read some fact based information on the asylum seeker issue in Australia, I can highly recommend reading the ASRC’s free downloadable PDF Asylum seekers and refugees – myths, FACTS+ solutions. And if you want to get involved they have a list of 10 things you can do.

One of the things on the list is to donate items of need like:

Great foods to donate

  • breakfast cereal
  • dried fruit, nuts
  • eggs, bread
  • fresh fruit or veg
  • long life (UHT) milk
  • biscuits/chocolate
  • tomato paste
  • tinned fish
  • tinned fruit or veg
  • tea/coffee
  • spices
  • dishwashing detergent
  • shaving stuff
  • pads and tampons
  • shampoo
  • soap
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • washing powder
  • toilet paper
  • Use your imagination (but don’t bother with baked beans, tinned spaghetti or tinned soups)

Aid and Advocacy donations

  • Phonecards (local or international)
  • Mobile phones (in working order, with charger)
  • Nappies
  • Bedding
  • Kitchenware (specifically saucepans, frypans, cooking pots)

Drop of points are in West Melbourne and Fairfield. Full details on times and addresses can be found here. Th ASRC can also be found on facebook and twitter.

In the lead up to Christmas, I find it the perfect opportunity to teach my kids the value of giving and to discuss how lucky we are to have not only everything we need, but much more on top of that.

Do you have local charities that you support and do you involve the kids with giving?