Joining forces to help underprivileged babies
Many babies born in South Africa lack the most basic necessities in the first few weeks of life. The Grace Factory is a non-profit organisation that aims to alleviate this suffering by distributing free maternity packs to new mothers and children’s homes. On Saturday September 17, 100 members of the public joined forces with The Grace Factory to put together 1 000 of these life-changing packs.
100 members of the public gathered at PRIMEDIA on Saturday (top left) and joined forces with The Grace Factory to put together 1 000 free maternity packs (right) consisting of clothes, blankets, toiletries and nappies (bottom left) for new mothers and children’s homes.
“Motherhood can be extremely daunting, particularly in the first few months,” says Amy Westerman, founder of The Grace Factory. “Some new mothers become overwhelmed and abandon their babies, and many more struggle to cope during this stressful period.”
The Grace Factory’s primary mission is to support children’s homes by providing them with necessities like clothes, blankets, toiletries and nappies. The non-profit currently distributes these much-needed supplies to over 80 children’s homes around Gauteng on an ongoing basis.
The organisation recently hosted a mass baby shower for 34 underprivileged mothers in Actonville, Benoni. Snacks were provided and gifts were given to each mom at the event and two guest speakers spoke about pregnancy and healthcare for babies.
The Grace Factory’s second mission is to provide once-off maternity gift packs to all new moms in government hospitals. These packs contain some of the basics a new mother needs to get started, including clothes, nappies, and toiletries for both mother and baby.
Over the last two months, the organisation has partnered with the South African Breastmilk Reserve (SABR) to distribute 135 packs to new mothers in government clinics and hospitals, as well as the neonatal intensive care unit at Thembisa hospital.
“We believe our partnership with the SABR will help alleviate the hopelessness felt by many new moms in government hospitals,” says Westerman. “We hope that it will also encourage moms to donate some of their breastmilk to milk banks. These are vital resources for mothers who are unable to breastfeed and for babies who have lost their mothers.”
“We’re pleased to be working with The Grace Factory,” says Stasha Jordan, breastfeeding activist and executive director of the SABR, “Anything we can do to help relieve the stress on new mothers increases the chances that their babies will be healthier and happier.”
The Grace Factory recently received a generous donation of R1 million worth of products from Lotto Star and 947. This has allowed them to create thousands of new packs. On Saturday 17 September 2016, 100 volunteers descended on The Grace Factory’s public packing day and helped put together 1,000 maternity packs.
“We are thrilled with the response from the public,” says Westerman. “It’s wonderful to know that so many people care enough about this cause to spend part of their weekend volunteering with us.”