A new charity is thinking ‘inside the box’ as it gives Southern Lakes mothers and newborn babies a helping hand.
Two-and-a-half years of hard work by a group of dedicated locals culminated in the recent launch of the Queenstown Lakes Baby Box Charitable Trust.
It was a proud day for its chairperson Vanessa van Uden, who was the Queenstown Lakes District Mayor from 2010 to 2016. She says the idea came from a Tackling Poverty workshop held in 2016 and the realisation that many Southern Lakes residents don’t have family living nearby to support them.
Based on a Finnish model, Baby Box gifts new mothers some basic resources to give their little ones a safe, comfortable start in life. The sturdy box is the size of a bassinette (so the baby could sleep in it) and contains a mattress, sheets, a woollen blanket, clothes, a merino sleeping bag, a toy, a book, a bib, a reusable nappy, and other useful items.
Each box costs the trust $250 and Vanessa estimates 500 a year are needed in Queenstown Lakes. Central Lakes Trust and Community Trust South provided funding and many generous individuals and businesses – from knitters and quilters to Wonky Donkey book author Craig Smith – have donated time, products or money.
“The ultimate dream is that communities all around New Zealand start to do this for their own community,” Vanessa says.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/BabyBoxQueenstownLakes/.
To offer practical or financial help, phone Vanessa on 027 229 6008 or Jan Maxwell on 027 233 7934.