Making a difference on Mother’s Day

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Mother's Day can be difficult for some.

Mother’s Day can be difficult for some.

By Imogen Baratta

Choosing a Mother’s Day gift can be difficult: flowers, perfume, or yet another pair of fluffy slippers, it’s all been done before. Or maybe yours is a simpler celebration, such as breakfast in bed, or a family lunch. If we are lucky, it’s a day to celebrate the person who brought us into the world, nurtured us, guided us, and supported us. But for so many others, Mother’s Day can come and go without acknowledgement.

Amy is a resilient and articulate young mother of small children. Two years ago, Amy and her kids were left homeless when her then-partner didn’t pay the rent. She found out when the police came to the door, demanding she and her children vacate the premises immediately.

“I didn’t have a clue he hadn’t been paying the rent. I had to pack up our things and leave immediately, with one of my children, and the other still at school,” she recalled.

According to the Council of Homeless Persons, the 2011 Census revealed there were more than 22,000 people homeless on Census night. More than 26,000 children accompanied their families to homeless support services in 2010-11. Wesley Mission Victoria’s CEO, Rob Evers, said that in the last year Wesley’s homeless support services have seen a 29 per cent increase in people needing support.

“Over the last 12 months, Wesley’s two crisis hubs had more than 12,600 requests for assistance,” Mr Evers said.

“Wesley continues to provide much needed financial and material aid such as groceries, phone cards, assistance with utilities, petrol vouchers and public transport tickets,” he said.

Using the laundry and shower facilities at Wesley’s Homelessness Service in Ringwood, Amy maintained her retail job, as she looked for more permanent accommodation. Wesley’s Homelessness Service also assisted Amy with art therapy and counselling for her kids, to keep them distracted from the trauma of their experience, but to also provide them with an outlet for self-expression. With help from support services, eventually Amy and her family found affordable housing in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. They are now happy and settled.

“The hardest part about being homeless is the shame. It makes you feel worthless. Not being able to provide the basics for your kids is heart breaking. It’s the things you take for granted, like baby formula and nappies, nutritious meals and something to keep the kids occupied that you miss the most,” Amy explained.

This Mother’s Day, there is a way you can help people like Amy, by purchasing a gift that supports disadvantaged mothers and their children. Wesley Giftshare  provides essential items for homeless mothers such as a warm, nutritious meal, essential baby needs, or a safe and warm bed to sleep in.

“When you purchase a gift from Wesley Giftshare this Mother’s Day, your donation will support some of the most vulnerable people in our community,” Mr Evers said.

“What better way to give back part of the caring and kindness you were given by your mother.”

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