Double donations set up a big year

Big Group Hug chief executive Bernadene Voss at the Thomastown warehouse. (Damjan Janevski) 396403_06

Gerald Lynch

Fresh off a huge double donation day, amassing $202,399 of funds, Big Group Hug is setting its sight on another year of helping those who need it most.

Fundraising and communications manager Maria Quigley said “Funds raised will help Big Group Hug continue to provide our essential service, reaching more families in need throughout greater Melbourne from our locations in Thomastown, Airport West and Tarneit. As an increasing number of families are experiencing hardship every week, we are thankful for the community’s support to respond to this need.”

Last year, the charity was able to purchase 51 high chairs to give to struggling families, thanks to the Donnybrae community fund.

Marketing coordinator Emina Mesinovic said the charity looks forward to being able to provide more essential items to families who would otherwise go without, and emphasised the rewarding nature.

“High chairs are vital but an item we don’t receive enough of. With the funds received, the high chairs purchased provided families with some financial relief,” she said.

“We were able to help a father who had moved with his baby from NSW to Victoria to escape family violence. He was living with an extended family member, and caring for his baby full time, rendering him unable to work at that time. He needed some immediate aid to provide the space and financial relief he needed to get on his feet in a new state.

“We also helped a mother who was unable to access any Centrelink support as she was on a bridging visa. When she reached out for help it was because she was unable to work due to her health . Her toddler had also recently been diagnosed with an ongoing health issue, meaning her medical costs were increasing. The aid pack we provided, including the high chair, was a welcome relief, again alleviating some of the financial strain.

“These are the types of families we help daily, with the number of children and families requiring aid growing year on year. This year we’re tracking to help around 8000 babies and children, a substantial increase on the 6002 helped in FY23.”