Raising children can be expensive, and many families struggle to make it work each and every day.

Belinda, Centre Director of Petit Early Learning Journey Forest Hill, understands this not only as someone who runs a child care centre, but also as a mother of two young children.

When she learned about St Kilda Mums and their mission of reusing and recycling much-loved babies’ and children’s gear to help families in need, she decided to encourage families and educators at the Victorian Petit Early Learning Journey centres to donate these items.  A team of educators from each centre, brought the donations to the St Kilda Mums warehouse and spent an entire day volunteering.

Giving back to the community feels good, and Belinda especially appreciates the charity helps out children just like the ones who attend the Petit Centres.

“Understanding what St Kilda Mums does for families really hits home for me as a mother,” says Belinda. “I realise how much I can provide and what other families at our centre can provide, and then there are families out there that are experiencing hardship or have lost their homes or are in refuge. You think about how tough it must be on them to try to provide everything for their children.”

Over a two-week span, the centres collected everything from bassinets to car seats to clothing, adding up to two carloads of donations.

Giving new life to gently used baby goods 

Serving families since 2009, St Kilda Mums began after five mums were at St Kilda Maternal and Child Health Centre, where they happened to see donated baby goods piled up in a photocopying room.

Jessica Macpherson, one of the mums and CEO, “volunteered to sort, launder and package the preloved goods for rehoming to families that might need them. The presentation of the goods to be rehomed was very important—Jessica and the other mums wanted to be respectful of the dignity of the recipients, and wanted them to feel these items were from loving homes and in good condition.”

Nine years later, St Kilda Mums continues to “recycle nursery equipment like cots, prams and car seats, as well as clothes and other baby essentials. We receive requests from Maternal Health Nurses and local social service agencies on behalf of families in need. We then try to meet or exceed each request with quality pre-loved donations.”

St Kilda Mums was an excellent match for families and educators at Petit ELJ to support their local community.

“While we were there, we double checked the safety of goods, following the Australian guidelines; cleaned car seats, prams, high chairs and baby baths; sorted out clothing, toys, bottles and bottle sanitisers,” says Belinda. “We had the opportunity to go across the road to put the stock into the second warehouse where it is ready for collection by social workers or maternal health nurses for families. It is impressive how they have it all set up in sections, all the clothing bundled by girl or girl and by age, making it easy to find what is needed.”

Giving another mother a beautiful gift this Mother’s Day

Families from Petit ELJ Forest Hill are encouraged to partner with St Kilda Mums on giving another mother a beautiful gift this Mother’s Day. 

The idea is to think of what a woman might need in her toiletries bag.  Pick up a pretty toiletry bag, fill it with items and finish by including a note to the other mum to show your support.

Belinda hopes that families will donate and put together packages.

“These packs will be sent out around Mother’s Day to a woman who might have been living in refuge; her house might of burnt down or she might be homeless to make her feel special,” Belinda says.

Feel good about a centre that believes charity is important? 

If families would like to hear about a centre that will teach children, and remind families, about the importance of giving back to the community, then make a point to visit with Belinda, who has been with the Forest Hill Petit centre since it opened in September 2016. Give her a call at 03 8609 2340 or email her to book a tour.