South Pacific Division

Adventist Media Initiative is Supporting Mothers Through Cost of Living Crisis

Currently, there are 21 local Mums At The Table groups in Australia and New Zealand.

Melody Tan, Adventist Record, and ANN Staff
The Affordable Wardrobe project in action at Mildura Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Affordable Wardrobe project in action at Mildura Seventh-day Adventist Church.

(Photo: Adventist Record)

Mums At The Table is helping to address the cost-of-living crisis through a new initiative that tackles environmental waste at the same time. Local Mums At The Table groups have organized clothing swap events for the community in cities and towns across Australia including Mildura, Wahroonga, and Ipswich.

“People are stretching their last dollars, and we see it among our mums especially,” said Larissa Forbes-Wilson, volunteer moderator for the Mildura Mums At The Table group. “From clothing their kids to feeding their kids, it’s everywhere,” she says.

Mums At The Table, a ministry of Adventist Media, partners with local Seventh-day Adventist churches to serve mothers in the local community. Working with volunteer moderators from local churches, Mums At The Table organizes in-person events to connect with mothers. The ministry also shares parenting information on digital media.

The Mildura group runs the Affordable Wardrobe, where mums can find good-quality children’s clothing for free or a voluntary donation. All the clothes in the Affordable Wardrobe are donated, and Forbes-Wilson washes, sorts, and stores them in her garage until the next event.

Many of the clothing swap events are held at the start of a new season when parents are looking for new sizes of summer or winter clothes for their children.

Over in Wahroonga, the initiative is called “Give Gain Swap.” In 2023, Bréane Chapman, a former Upper North Shore group volunteer moderator, began the project in her region and included children’s toys and books as well. Attendees are welcome—but not expected—to bring something and are welcome to take anything on offer without cost.

“There’s also an environmental aspect to it: How can we help to reduce waste in landfills and increase the amount of wear for clothes,” said Brooke Sutton, who has continued Give Gain Swap as the new Upper North Shore group volunteer moderator.

“I think it’s a great example of Christianity in action. I follow a generous and loving God, who blesses our family abundantly, even when we don’t recognize it. How can I not pass that on? And generosity is infectious, especially when it comes with no strings attached. Generosity and grace are hard to ignore,” she adds.

The Ipswich Mums At The Table group concluded its most recent clothing swap event, “Fill-a-Bag,” at the end of May. The Ipswich group included not only donated children’s clothes and items but also teen and adult clothes. For a gold coin donation, representing $1 or $2 AUD coins, attendees could fill a bag with as many items as they wished.

“About 60 people came through, and we were able to help with just bags and bags of clothes,” said Ewelina Arevalo, volunteer moderator for the Ipswich group. “We started with about 30 very full 52-litre boxes, and at the end of the day, we had less than 15 boxes left. There is such a need for this in our area, and we will definitely look at doing another one of these events in about six months.”

Most of the clothing swap events organized by the local Mums At The Table group are held at the local Adventist church or school hall. 

The Affordable Workshop typically operates at the Mildura Seventh-day Adventist church hall while playgroup, a children's activity area, is happening. This way, children can play while mothers shop.

“Moms are just so happy to be able to pick up high-quality clothing . . . so many just can’t believe the generosity of others,” said Forbes-Wilson.

Currently, there are 21 local groups in Australia and New Zealand, moderated by 67 church members, representing 28 Seventh-day Adventist churches in the region. Depending on the moderators’ availability, local events—or meet-ups—range from weekly playgroups to playground and café catch-ups or even dessert nights.

The original article was published on the South Pacific Division news site, Adventist Record.


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