As we celebrate Mother’s Day, Ann Sathasivam shares how an innovative partnership is giving the gift of hope to women across Australia.
Many of us are familiar with the concept of a Bridal Registry—a ‘wish list’ of gifts that a newly married couple would like to have as they set up their new home together. I wonder how many people are like me, though, who when seeing the list look at it in amazement.
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what on earth the couple were thinking. Do they really need these items? And I can’t even work out what some of them are! Sometimes I ask myself whether this gift is going to be an accurate reflection of my feelings of happiness for them as they set out on the journey of their life together. Often the answer is…probably not.
Despite all that, gift registries are an excellent idea and provide the means for people to be given what they need no matter what the event or purpose. Most times it’s a win-win for the shoppers and the recipients.
This proven concept has led The Salvation Army and Myer to join forces in a gift register that can make a massive difference to vulnerable women across Australia as they struggle to embark on their journey to a new life. It’s called the Myer Give Registry.
The items you’ll find on the Give Registry are provided to women and children fleeing family and domestic violence. It lets them choose the things that will help to make a new start in life as they establish a safe and violence-free home environment for themselves and their children.
The Give Registry list has been formed by women telling the Salvos what they require to help set up a new home. Items include kitchenware, electrical (rice cookers, hand-held blenders, toasters, kettles, and microwave ovens), bed linen, pillows, mattress protectors, cushions and children’s clothing.
Myer customers can choose from this list, purchasing an item they would like to donate. Myer then matches the customer donation so that the original gift is doubled.
More than 6,000 customers have participated in the Myer Give Registry, either purchasing an item or making a cash donation. In the 2017 financial year, Myer raised $323,260 in cash and products. These purchased goods are shipped to state distribution points before going to the Salvos, the women and their children.
As everyone who has moved house knows, it is an expensive business, and if you have very limited financial resources—as most of these women do—having the basic necessities provided relieves some of the immediate pressures and stresses of this transition. This allows these women to focus on building a new home life for their family.
And, it needs to be said that this assistance impacts the women and children way beyond financial aspects. It boosts their self-image, and helps provide a stepping stone to rebuilding their whole life.
As one recipient put it, “These items to me represent ‘HOPE’. Having nothing to start with is quite overwhelming, especially having to start over again. Being a recipient of such generosity has given me encouragement in this next step.”
Recipients of gifts are invited to provide feedback via a postcard which has some questions on it. One of the questions is, “How did the items make a difference to the situation you were in?” and the answers below provide some insights into the difference that the Myer Give Registry is making.
“I left home due to marriage break-up and was unable to obtain any goods. I left with my daughter and we only took clothes we could pack quickly. Thank you so much—we are so appreciative.”
“To have something nice and new makes me feel great. New sheets were beautiful and soft—I’ve never had such soft sheets.”
“It was amazing to receive these goods as with only being in a new town for four months and relying on Newstart I didn’t have a lot of money. I am very grateful for all the help.”
These mothers have put their own needs to one side as they have had to work harder than most to provide a safe and caring environment for their children while sacrificing time and opportunities for themselves.
Recognising that they deserve something personal and special, in the next phase of the project Myer will be distributing gift cards to The Salvation Army, so that women can enjoy selecting a gift for themselves from Myer stores.
The Myer Give Registry has been recognised internationally as an innovative and positive collaboration between a socially- conscious business and a charity partner. It is delivering tangible support to vulnerable people deeply enmeshed in the crisis of family breakdown.
This Mother’s Day, you can be part of this life-changing initiative by giving a donation at any Myer retail outlet so a woman and her family can be touched by your generosity—giving them hope for a brighter future.
You can read a real-life story of the difference this program has made to a family’s life in this week’s My Story.
To find out more or to sign up for the Myer Give Registry visit myer.com.au/c/give-registry
Need help? You can contact the Salvos on 13 SALVOS (13 72 58)