9 May 2020

The Mother's Day card that keeps on giving

| Michael Weaver
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Left to right: Julie Hathaway, Liz Martin, Carol Willis, Carolyn Brooks, Nichole Overall, Narelle Sargent.

From left: Julie Hathaway (coordinator South Eastern Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service), Liz Martin (former staff member of Molonglo Support Services), Carol Willis (Molonglo Support Services board member), Carolyn Brooks (artist of the fundraising card), Nichole Overall (Molonglo Support Services patron), and Narelle Sargent (Molonglo Support Services chair). Photo: Supplied (taken prior to social distancing).

A group of women who provide support for people facing homelessness or domestic and family violence have found additional value in the gift of giving ahead of Mother’s Day.

Due to the stress of COVID-19 and social isolation, Molonglo Support Services in Queanbeyan has experienced a recent increase in clients. Its executive officer, Janette Dale, says the gift of a simple card on Mother’s Day will help support the service and last well beyond that of buying chocolates or flowers.

Molonglo Support Services is witnessing an escalation in reports of violence and property damage since the COVID-19 outbreak. Its network of support services includes the Louisa Domestic Violence Service, Your Place Housing Support Service, and South Eastern Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service, which provide crisis and transitional accommodation in Queanbeyan.

Ms Dale said the service had experienced “a significant jump” in client demand between January and February, and that had increased in March and April.

She said Molonglo Support Services was wary of how heightened emotions and added pressures of COVID-19 lockdown could lead to an increase in frequency or severity of violence at home.

“This is especially concerning for people who are required to self-isolate or quarantine,” said Ms Dale.

“Molonglo has been providing critical support services to those impacted by domestic and family violence in Queanbeyan and the surrounding region, including Bungendore, Braidwood and Cooma for more than 40 years.

“Molonglo is working with local service providers and Domestic Violence Crisis Service to ensure supports remain available for those experiencing domestic and family violence.”

Chair of Molonglo Support Services board, Narelle Sargent, said they recently launched their fundraising card to continue to provide services to its increasing number of clients.

“This Mother’s Day you can help to support clients by donating to our service instead of buying chocolates or flowers,” said Ms Sargent.

“When you donate, we send a card acknowledging your donation to the person you have donated on behalf of, such as your mother, sister or mother-in-law. Your donation assists us to reduce harm arising from domestic and family violence and homelessness by providing holistic intervention, outreach, crisis and court advocacy support services.”

Fundraising card from Molonglo Support Services.

The Molonglo Support Services fundraising card. Photo: Supplied.

Meanwhile, Mission Australia is encouraging families to stay in their pyjamas and go virtual to raise funds to support homeless families and people facing tough times during COVID-19.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey said their Mothers in Pyjamas initiative celebrates four favourite mother figures in the form of Zoom pyjama parties, PJ-clad Skype calls or FaceTime sessions.

“Our Mothers in Pyjamas fundraising experience is an opportunity for everyday families and individuals to connect in quirky and memorable ways, while also extending care and generosity to those who are vulnerable and who may not have a safe place to call home,” said Mr Toomey.

He added that people can hold a virtual Mother’s Day party and post their photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #MothersInPyjamas or #MissionAustralia, while also making a donation to Mission Australia, which estimates there are more than 116,000 people who are homeless in Australia, including 44,000 children and young people.

“We also hope this fundraising opportunity spurs conversation and consideration among family members and our communities about the plight of people who are homeless or vulnerable, which can arm everyone for further action and advocacy,” said Mr Toomey.

“We’d love for as many children (young and old), mums, dads, carers, uncles, aunties, grandparents and friends as possible to partner with us in our ultimate goal of ending homelessness by participating in a virtual pyjama party for Mother’s Day this year.

“When you donate to Mission Australia, you’re investing a seed of hope in the lives of those who are homeless or vulnerable in our community.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, Molonglo Support Services can be contacted on 02 6299 4799 or via its website or Facebook page.

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