The St Vincent de Paul’s new pregnancy assistance programme has been in demand since it started a couple of months ago.
The programme took over where Pregnancy Help left off, offering help to mothers on low incomes with clothing, bedding and nappies for newborns.
One of the organisers, Irene Morales, says more than the expected number of people have come to St Vincent de Paul’s in Newtown seeking help.
Pregnancy Help was forced to close because of a lack of volunteers. However, St Vincent de Paul has a broader volunteer base which it can tap into to work on this kind of programme.
Irene estimates the programme will draw about 100 mothers a year. This estimate is based on statistics that show some 2,500 live births in Wellington a year. And, she says, low-income families, those whose income is less than $20,000 a year, account for around eight percent of all Wellington families so potentially the service could see up to 240 clients.
The Society stresses that, although it’s a Catholic organisation, it will help all people, regardless of their faith.
Irene says the mothers who are using the service so far are quite young, and of European, Māori and Asian ethnicity. About half are single mothers and some already have a child.
‘Some of them are really scared about how they will manage with a second child.’
Irene says the mothers who use the service will have access to the social workers and counsellors who work with St Vincent de Paul. These provide advice on such issues as family relationships and budgeting including the range of government assistance to which they are entitled.
St Vincent de Paul’s philosophy is to try to get people away from dependency and help them to introduce preventive strategies into their lives while still providing emergency relief. For example, if people come for help from the foodbank more than twice, the Society invites them to meet with its social worker to try to find out why they need emergency help and to put long-term strategies in place that will help them towards self sufficiency.
For more information, contact Irene Morales, 389 7122.