I remember my father-in-law once saying that we’ve inadvertently already given our children the very best start in life, due to the fact that we’re British.
I remember thinking that it was a strange thing to say — a bit elitist maybe — but he expanded by saying we live in one of the safest, most inert countries on earth (he was a geologist, in his younger years, so this train of thought made perfect sense).
The UK is rarely hit by earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes or extreme temperatures.
We live in a democratic society — we have free healthcare — we are beyond lucky that we live on such an amazing little island.
And, in recent news, the refugee crisis has only served to reinforce his theory. It’s so very sad.
But we can help.
On Tuesday, the childrens’ clothing retailer JoJo Maman Bébé launched their ‘From a Mother to Another‘ initiative.
They’ll be collecting good quality outgrown or unwanted baby and children’s clothes — in sizes 0-6 years — at their 72 stores across the UK and Ireland, until March 5th.
It’s a shocking statistic that ‘nearly a third of the UK’s clothing ends up in landfill’ which equates to 350,000 tonnes a year.
I can’t quite imagine how much that is but I can bet my last quid that it’s an awful lot.
Apparently, if the life of our clothes is extended by just three months of active use, carbon and water waste could be reduced by up to 5-10% a year.
So by sending good quality — and little worn — hand-me-downs to those in need, it means that as well as benefitting the earth, these clothes can be worn by many more children.
JoJo’s founder, Laura Tenison, visited refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley on the Lebanese Syrian border late last year.
This resulted in an urgent appeal, by JoJo, to collect winter shoes and boots for the children living in snow covered tents.
I know how much my tiny boys feel the cold even if the heating has been off for a few hours, during cold-spells! I can’t imagine how they would feel to be, essentially, sleeping outdoors with only a canvas tent for protection.
It must unbearable. Yet so many babies and children are having to do this, as the norm.
Laura explained what she found when visiting the camps;
‘The situation is dire and the millions of women and children living in makeshift tents are in urgent need of emergency humanitarian aid to help until it is safe to travel home – just a few miles across the border.
They left Syria with whatever they could carry. Their children have outgrown their clothes long ago and are often in rags. The gift of a FAMTA pack brings tears of gratitude. Children are dying from the cold, we just had to help.’
The emergency clothing packs will be distributed by some of the Trussell Trust’s 420 Foodbanks across the UK and by a number of partner charities on the ground in Lebanon.
It’s so simple to get involved.
- Sort out any clothes that no longer fit your child — but make sure they’ve still got plenty of wear in them and make-up complete outfits. Don’t pass on any damaged items of clothing.
- Pack them into clear bags, clearly labelled with the gender, age and season (or use) of the garments — ie summer or nightwear.
- Take your parcel of clothes down to your nearest JoJo store and they’ll do the rest.
This is the perfect kind of initiative for me — and other mums and dads just like me — to help out with. My children are at an age where they’re growing so quickly and outgrowing their clothes at such a pace.
So as well as clearing out some space in our drawers and cupboards, it makes me really happy to think that, by doing this simple thing, we’re helping someone who really, really needs it.
Mothers’ day in the UK falls on March 6th this year. Give something really worthwhile to another mother and — if the warm glow, that a random act of kindness generates, isn’t enough reward — you’ll also receive a £5 JoJo voucher, when you donate two or more outfits.