The feedback we receive about our impact comes via staff and kaimahi at the community organisations we collaborate with.
I have accessed the ChCh Aunties for a range of items, clothing, household goods, pamper packs, cleaning packs, vouchers, toys, safety items (Safelets and security cameras) and more. It is an amazing service and the feedback I receive from whaiora once they receive their items is always positive and they are so appreciative and grateful.
Sam, Whānau Intervention Practitioner, He Waka Tapu
From a dolls house being delivered to a little girl who desperately wanted one, to sheets for beds, to deodorant and toothpaste. No matter what we have a need for, the ChCh Aunties have never let us or our clients down which just constantly brings joy to us all. Women who have to start from scratch when leaving abusive relationships need to know that organisations like The Christchurch Aunties are there to help where possible. Thank you Aunties, we love you!
Tania, Manager, YWCA
I'm so very grateful, that through the kindness of Sharron and the ChCh Aunties I was able to be given a Safelet. It's such an amazingly little piece of technology that is going to give me such peace of mind knowing my network of guardians are right there if I need them. I cannot express how much it means to me to have this, and that both Sharron, and the Christchurch Aunties made it possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!! ♥️ I will pay this kindness forward somehow!"
Safelet donation recipient
I wanted to pass on a big thank you for collecting those items from my neighbour, Alison. She felt so good after donating them, knowing they were going to such a good purpose.
Luan, Family Support Worker, Aviva
I gifted the client the handbag full of goodies yesterday. She had the biggest smile on her face and was very happy and pleased to receive the gift when I handed it to her and told them it was Christchurch Aunties. When I was leaving she was looking forward to having a good look to see what was in the bag. The backpack was the perfect bag for a young mum to be able to store all baby’s belongings in it put it on her back and head out for a walk.
Nicola, Family Support Worker, Early Start Project
Please accept my sincerest thanks for your support of my client and her children. She is absolutely over the moon with the table and chairs you organised for her. She reports that these have made her feel really house proud, and she looks forward to having friends over for dinner. She explained that she could not believe that someone would go so far out of their way to arrange and pick up furniture for her family.
Nicole, Social Worker Team Leader, Family Works
Thank you so much for the beautiful phone. I am very grateful for your generosity.
Phone donation recipient
Thank you very much for helping this young lady in such a sad time for her and her daughter. I rang her after I spoke to you and told her the Christchurch Aunties were going to give her some petrol vouchers, she burst out crying. You may not know how much this has helped her but I assure you these petrol vouchers have taken so much stress off this client.
Pauline, Community Advocate, Battered Women's Trust
No words can express our gratitude and thanks for your on-going support and generous donations. It is very much appreciated and I know that the recipients of these items are truly grateful. You and your team have played such an important part in bringing a ray of sunshine into their lives.
Linda, Executive Management, Nga Maata Waka
Thank you so much. I honestly appreciate your organization so much!! You make this whole process so much easier for us all.
Niki, Whānau Kaimahi, He Waka Tapu
We were recently approached by an organisation who requested a birthday cake and voucher for a boy. He had experienced some traumatic circumstances over the past 12 months and had never had a birthday party before. Thanks to a ChCh Auntie who makes fabulous birthday cakes (when she's not teaching secondary school) and a Westfield voucher leftover from Christmas, we 'came to the party'. It's not always about furniture and toiletries. Sometimes it's about cake and love.
Our simple elevator pitch describes what we do. "The Christchurch Aunties provides practical support and donations for women and children who have experienced family violence and hardship". However this doesn't explain how the magic happens. This blog post paints a picture of a typical week, worked by a staff member who is paid (14 hours per week), and an amazing team of Volunteers.
Check request spreadsheet from organisations. Someone urgently needs a Safelet. Set up required payment, arrange Sharron at Safelet to connect with the organisation. Meet (lovely) volunteers at the Aunties Attic who unpack boxes kitchen donations and measure bedlinen. Five people have contacted us with furniture to donate. Start matching these donations with requests. Make enquiries regarding quality and location of donations. Deliver kitchen gear, toiletries, Love Grace handbags, pillow cases, a slow cooker, and box of moisturisers to 5 different organisations around town. Chat with the staff at the organisations about progress and any specific upcoming needs.
Update request spreadsheet. Coordinate pick up and delivery of 3 single beds, a queen bed, coffee table, microwave, and two fridges via email and Facebook Messenger with donors and volunteers. Work on funding application. Pick up a single bed in Jan the Van. Update our ChCh Aunties community of progress on Facebook.
Update Facebook communications with current requests and good news stories. Two more people have a dining table and drawers to donate. Hop in Jan the Van and quickly pick them up. Update volunteer schedule and tally of hours. An organisation calls, urgently needing some support with emergency flights. These are arranged. A call out on Facebook is made for some financial donations to cover this.
Work through emails. Continue coordination of pick up and delivery of furniture. Create graphics for upcoming campaign. Deliver toiletries to an organisation. Head to Aunties Attic to tidy and shelve incoming donations. Start preparing report for upcoming Board Meeting.
Deliver electrical donations to tag and tester to be assessed. Take a trip to Eco-Drop to discard of donations deemed unsuitable. Pick up a bookshelf. Present to a community group about The Christchurch Aunties. Work on funding application. Plan donation collections and deliveries for the weekend.
I’ve had my period for over three decades now. Yay me. Over that time I’ve experienced many emotions. I got my first Lady Time on my 13th birthday. It was so not the present I wanted or expected.
I was underwhelmed.
I quickly worked out the joys of pads and tampons. And over the next fifteen years, apart from the odd cramp and sugar craving, menstruation wasn’t much of an issue for me. I bought the stuff. I soaked up the blood. I got on with life.
I was ambivalent.
When the time came for children, I stopped contraception and fell pregnant before my knickers even hit the floor (both times!) Suddenly my period was doing something way more constructive than soaking tampons and staining underwear. It was helping me grow two brand new humans!
I was overjoyed.
After both pregnancies and a stint of breastfeeding, my body announced its renewed fertility with the resumption of my monthly flow.
I was resigned.
Over the following years my period and I bumbled along together. However, I became more and more aware of the impact my menstrual products were having on the environment, the possible risks they posed to my physical health, as well as resenting just how much they cost month after month. After lots of research, I took the plunge and bought a menstrual cup. I was an immediate convert. I gave them to mortified friends begging them to see how easy they were to use and how much cash it would save them.
I was evangelical.
A couple of years ago, I saw a news article about women who made menstrual kits for girls in developing countries. Where there is a choice between feminine hygiene and food, the choice will always be food. This leaves girls to make whatever solutions they can just to stay in school. The best options are rags or paper. The worst are cornhusks, bark, or even corncobs and stones inserted internally to try and stop their flow. Many girls cannot even use these options and will simply stay at home sitting on a piece of cardboard for five days. I immediately looked up the organization Days for Girls and started sewing for them.
I was sad.
However, since I started sewing reusable pads for girls in Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands there has been more and more media coverage about period poverty right here in Aotearoa. Girls who stay home from school and university because they cannot afford pads or tampons. Women forced to literally 'go on the rag' each month. Girls getting 'the injection' because it’s cheaper than menstrual products.
I was indignant.
I’d been so worried about the poor girls overseas, I’d been blind to the massive amount of period poverty suffered by Kiwi women. Women being punished financially every month for having a healthy reproductive system. Bearing the cost of an event they have no control over. Often it is the most vulnerable of our women who are suffering the worst – the women forced to flee to the safety of refuges with nothing but the clothes on their back. It’s hard enough for these women to ask for safety and refuge. Can you imagine how humiliating it must be to ask for pads or tampons?
I was sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated and discouraged all at the same time.
What can one little person do? I’m just me. I do OK but I’m not wealthy. My heart is big but my wallet is not. What can I do? I came to the conclusion I cannot help all the women all the time. But I can help some of the women, some of the time, when I am able. Things I can do:
I am determined.
I am resolute.
Are you with me?
Since writing this blog post, I have managed to speak to Kimberli at MyCup NZ and she is delighted to have Christchurch Aunties as one of her community partners. So for every menstrual cup we are able to purchase, their community programme will donate an extra cup.
I had the privilege today of speaking about reusable period products to a support group of women at the Battered Women’s Trust (one of the Refuges the Christchurch Aunties regularly assists). All the ladies present were interested in the current trends of reusable products (cloth pads, period knickers and menstrual cups). They were astounded at how much a cup could save them, but every one balked at finding the initial outlay in purchasing one. I told them I’d talk to some ladies I know and see what we could get sorted.
If you can help, please send your contribution to the Christchurch Aunties bank account 38-9018-0726820-00 coded 'Cup', or drop any cash, checks, bank drafts, foreign exchange, gold, silver or precious stones to the drop off points and we'll ensure it's all cashed, collated and converted into cups.
Our role involves a wide range of mahi and good humans. Read our blog to find out the guts of what we're all about, and the good people involved.