Sunshine Bendigo is a kind-hearted volunteer community group. Sunshine Bendigo is currently located in Daly Street, though soon to be moving into Golden Square premises. Families donate used and new baby goods that are donated to other families in need.
Charlotte and Sophie went down to check it all out…
Why did you decide to start the group?
Sunshine Bendigo started to help the community for families that are struggling to provide resources for their babies like, prams, cots, car seats and things that families need to provide a safe, warm, comfortable environment for a baby to grow up in. Things that we take for granted that are going to be there. Some people don’t have the capacity for those things.
How does the group help?
It helps young mums, grandparents, or anyone in the community who can’t afford to buy those things for their baby. Therefore, it helps keep the little baby warm, clothed and have prams to get around in, so it helps them mainly financially.
How do the families receive the items?
People who need to access some assistance in the community will be connected with a social worker or a caseworker from a different agency in town. They could also be connected to their hospital or a nurse at the infant wealthfare centre. That person will be able to contact us and say, “We have a client who needs a pram, cot etc.”
What part do you like best about doing this?
Being able to help people and seeing that it gives some relief to the people that we’re helping, it takes a bit of the pressure off. Sometimes it’s hard for people to afford things when they have bills and still have to buy things for their baby in need. It just takes that fiananical pressure off them.
When did you start?
We started in 2016. We started in Daly Street, where we are now, but we are moving from here, soon hopefully, We have outgrown this space.
How long did it take to start Sunshine Bendigo?
It took several months from the vison or the dream of it happening, to the idea of knocking on doors asking for help. Because we’re a charity, nothing is bought or sold, we don’t have any income at all because everything is donated to us. Everything in here is donated including the building. So it took along time to find a space.
Can you estimate the number of items you get donated everyday?
It varies everyday, it can be quite busy or fairly quiet. We sometimes get bags that have about 100 items inside or sometimes we might just get one pram, so its quite hard to estimate. Last year we handed out over 1112 items, We make sure everything is in perfect condition like something we would use ourselves. We also assisted 391 familes in town.
How many people are involved?
We have about a dozen volunteers. We have other people like our husbands and our families who get involved as well.
How can people in the community donate?Where do the items stay?
The items stay here in this room connected to the church building. We make packs of clothes and toys people might need and store them on these shelves. We would like a little reception area so that people who do come in can come and sit down and discuss their needs with us.
People just knock and come in with their donations we are open 3 days a week. Some people ring us and tell us they can’t get the goods here, if they have big cots or furniture, we come pick it up. We only take donations from birth to 1year old.