Ways to give back
Want to volunteer or donate but unsure where to start? Here are some ideas.
Hospitals, healthcare centres and health charities have always had more needs than resources, often depending on extra helping hands. However, over the past decade volunteer rates in Australia have declined, indicating we’re becoming too time-poor to manage those extra-curricular acts of kindness.
New evidence suggests that good deeds could be as fundamental to our mental health as they are to the organisations that depend on them. Compassion is linked with happiness and recent research shows empathy can help to combat occupational stress.
So here's a short list of things you can do that will help both you and your chosen cause:
Crafty types can help new mums in Mater Mothers’ Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU) by sewing two heart-shaped pieces of soft fabric (cotton or flannelette). One is worn under the mother’s clothes and the other is placed in the infant’s incubator. They’re then swapped so that the mother’s scent can create a calming effect for her new bub. It can also help mum’s milk arrive when she is apart from her child.
If you've got more time, the Royal Prince Alfred Newborn Intensive Care Unit needs bright sheets, dribble cloths, belts and pillows for their hundreds of patients. And Tiny Sparks in WA needs sewn outfits and knitted hats for the smallest babies in their neonatal units.
And if you're keen on a knitting challenge, check out Knitted Knockers, where volunteers whip up comfortable cotton prostheses for women who have recently had a mastectomy.
Pass it on
Just updated your prescription? Your old glasses can be passed on through Lions Clubs to help others. And if you no longer need mobility aids including crutches and wheelchairs, Rotary has a regional program to help.
Shop with care
Children’s Org accepts donations of new toys for children in hospitals, as well as clean clothes, which are especially needed for families who’ve had to rush to the emergency room. These must be newly bought to reduce the risk of any bugs harming little patients that might be fighting off infections.
Not sure what to send? Donate a Bear from the Kids' Cancer Project and you'll give twice: the proceeds go towards childhood cancer research and the bear is given to a sick kid in hospital. There's a range of options from princess to firefighter and they're bound to bring a smile.