Case Studies

Big Group Hug Real Life Stories

Making a Difference

Anka became homeless at 17 when her mum kicked her out for falling pregnant. Homeless, her boyfriend about to go to jail, she asked her grandmother to take her in. Anka’s grandmother accepted her, but the grandma didn’t have the finances to support a teen mother and a newborn baby.

This young vulnerable teen’s case worker at Victorian Aboriginal Health Service requested a newborn pack for Anka, which comes with onesies, tops, bottoms, nappies, wipes, books, and toys. Her case worker reported to us that the donation of the baby items was the key to engaging Anka. The case worker said “[Anka] was very proud to have her baby meet and greet other people in the Aboriginal community when her baby was wearing the donated clothes, looking so cute.”

 Your donations result in more than a baby who has clothes to wear and a mum who has toiletries. They can be tools for engagement, to gain moments of connection with clients who are otherwise difficult to engage.

Sharon arrived at the Maternal and Child (MCH) Health centre carrying her newborn baby son in her arms. At the same time, she was trying to bend down to get to hold her one-and-a-half-year-old son’s hand to encourage him to walk instead of clinging on to her. A mother in the waiting room came over to open the door for her and said, “Darl, you need a double pram!” Sharon nodded, still trying to pull her two-year-old through the door. She needed much more than a double pram.

When they entered the nurse’s room her older son went over to play with the plastic cars in the toy corner. She undressed her newborn so the nurse can weigh him. “Oops, someone did a poo!” nurse said. “You can change him right here on the table.”

Sharon took her nappy bag and started pushing aside bottles and bibs, and a dummy wishing for another nappy to appear in her bag. “Forgot your spare nappies?” the nurse asked. And Sharon broke down.

She had no more nappies. Not for her newborn nor for her one-and-a-half-year-old.
Sharon had escaped from family violence a week ago putting her two kids under two into the car and driving away with the clothes on their backs. She was living in emergency housing with no cot for her newborn or a pram for her kids. There had no toys, and she had run out of nappies. She did not know where to turn for help.

Her nurse knew where to get her help. Her MCH nurse told us Sharon’s story and added “Staff requested a double pram, clothing, toys, nappies, porta cot and bedding. Within days the family had received all above items, thanks to the Big Group Hug team, and this allowed mother to use what limited money she had for bills and putting food on the table.”

Henry wasn’t expecting to become a father again at the age of sixty. But when his daughter moved back home because she was unable to look after her baby, Henry had to go back to the parent duties of sleepless nights, nappy changes, and financial responsibilities. He was struggling to make ends meet before two more dependents moved in with him and then his situation became desperate.  

With our donation of nappies, wipes, and toiletries we were able to provide immediate relief to one of Henry’s most urgent needs as a carer grandfather. This allowed him to spend his limited income purchasing other necessities such as food for his family and paying for the rent so they can continue to have a roof over their head.
This year, because of your donations we were able to provide over a thousand boxes of nappies and wipes. We are always low on nappies, wipes, and toiletries because these items need to be purchased new and we depend on your kind donations to supply these items to the families in need.

Zahra attended two medical scans in one week with her six-year-old in tow. The first scan was for herself. She learned that the baby growing in her was healthy and she was having another boy. The second scan she attended was for her husband. She learned that her husband has a life-threatening tumor growing inside his brain.
The future for Zahra is uncertain with her husband ill and her baby on the way. We were able to remove the burden of having the basics ready for a newborn by providing her with a car seat, clothes, nappies, pram, and cot. We also gave clothes, shoes, and toys for her six-year-old who loves cars.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t provide some of the items she needed because we simply didn’t have them available. Your financial contribution allows us to assist families who go without the necessities in the direst of circumstances.

We shared Sally’s story with you back in November. Sally, a mother of 9 children with 5 of them under the age of 12. Sally, a mother with a newborn baby. Sally, a mother with a five-year-old special needs child. Sally, a mother who could not provide her children the clothes, shoes, nappies, wipes, and toiletries they needed.

And Sally, a mother with a new diagnosis of breast cancer. Our volunteers prepared five clothing packs for her children with all the clothes they’ll need for the year. In each clothing pack we try to include pyjamas, pants, tops, underwear, and warm clothes as well as two books and a soft toy. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to provide Sally’s older kids, ages 8-
11 with any underwear, socks, and pants because we did not have any available.
Your donations ensure that we have full clothing packs for each request.

Rajwinder was over the moon when her holiday visa to Australia to visit her husband was approved. She was pregnant and she was going back home in time to deliver her baby. Her husband was staying behind to finalise his application to receive permanent residence in Australia. Then, two things happened at once. Her husband got deported leaving Rajwinder alone in Australia. And she gave birth prematurely.

She is now stranded in the country with a week-old premature baby. She has limited English, no family, no contacts, no income, and no preparation for the arrival of her baby. Her maternal child health nurse immediately put in a request at the Big Group Hug to get Rajwinder the items she needs to take care of her newborn.

Many of the mothers who receive our aid have a sudden change in circumstances and need
assistance urgently. At BHG we have a streamlined our process to make them family friendly and enable us to respond swiftly to these requests. Karen Mainwaring, Maternal and Child Health coordinator at City of Whittlesea said, “We work with the families to determine the best way to get their request to them in a timely manner, and this is enabled by the swift response by BGH to the online requests.

Your donations allows us to respond confidently to a request as urgent as a one-week-old baby with no place to sleep and no clothes to wear.

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