February 13, 2015 - 4:47 PM
KELOWNA – Shannon Christensen’s house isn’t cluttered with old baby things. She’s given them all away.
She’s the founder of a relatively new non-profit organization that started in Kelowna last April. Mamas for Mamas is a network of caring mothers who look out for each other and give support whenever it’s needed.
Since starting in April last year they already have over 1,600 members all from the Central Okanagan. They've also been nominated for Volunteer Organization of the Year in Kelowna.
“It’s exciting,” Christensen says. “We’ve grown so much in such a short time.”
Christensen, who is only 28-years-old and has two young kids of her own, says she got the idea last year after seeing how many single mothers were posting on Facebook looking for help.
“They were falling through the cracks,” she says. “They were marginalized and they were getting further marginalized by the lack of support.”
One particular case caught her attention so she decided to contact some friends and family who she thought might be interested in helping out. She was able to get groceries for the woman as well as a few other items needed.
“It just felt really good and I wondered if there are other people who want to do something like this but just don’t know how to do it.”
Since that time the group has grown considerably and there are even chapters now in the Shuswap and Saltspring Island. Christensen says since April they have helped hundreds of women.
“It’s filled a niche,” she says. “There are so many people here (in Kelowna) who want to give back but don’t know how.”
She says of the hundreds of people the group has helped, three in particular stand out as examples of what they are capable of.
“Nelly was one of my favourite success stories,” she says. “The other was a bottle drive we did for a mama who was robbed at her wedding reception. We’re also really proud of our Christmas hampers because that took a lot of time and planning. We were able to help 14 families who weren’t able to get hampers through other means. It felt really good to be giving not just material things but a sense of community and a sense of hope.”
They were also instrumental in helping a Kelowna family replace presents that were stolen just days before Christmas.
Mamas for Mamas next project is a garage sale/swap event May 2 at The Bridge in Rutland.
“We’re only getting bigger and better,” she says. “Right now we’re exchanging clothes and diapers and cribs but soon we’d like to be able to help people find housing and transportation. I’d love to see a Mamas for Mamas in every community.”
To join you can visit Mamas for Mamas Facebook page or website.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015