Helping one child at a time

Athina May

What started with a Facebook post requesting donations for a mother in need, has grown into a weekly collection of baby clothing which has consumed the home of Sunningdale resident Amy Howes, who has since created the Amy’s Baby Clothing organisation.

Amy is not a mother yet, but she is mother to every woman who has needed a helping hand when it comes to providing for their young.

She has managed to help hundreds of mothers with the basic essentials they need to care for themselves and their children after childbirth, and she wants to ensure that no child is forgotten.

“I work at Fallen Angels as a foster mom and a lady on the farm was eight and a half months pregnant but had absolutely nothing to care for her child. I posted on Facebook, asking for donations, and they just came streaming in. I managed to take over six or seven bags of clothing to her, so I thought why not continue,” said Amy, who now has two drop-off points for donations which come in almost daily.

Amy works the night shift as a nursing sister at Mediclinic Milnerton and dedicates her free time to doing collections and taking care of her three dogs and six puppies that need constant attention. However, she still makes time to visit mothers of newborns in hospital wings in various areas to make sure they are cared for.

Recalling an incident that brought tears to her eyes, Amy said: “I once went to help out mothers in Wesfleur, handing each mom a care hamper, but there was a lady sitting in the corner crying. I went around and gave out blankets and clothing to the new moms, and when I got to her, I asked her why she was crying. She said she was scared that I was going to forget about her like everyone else did.

“I picked up her baby who was wearing the only babygrow she had. It had a burn smell and was moth-eaten, mangled and too big for the baby. She also had half a bar of soap on her table. That was all she had.

“I cried, the nurses cried, she cried, and we gave her everything she needed. There are so many stories I come across like this – there is always someone who is in need. When they cry, it breaks my heart,” said Amy, looking at the baby clothing spread before her.

Amy uses every donation she gets and takes donations of towels, wet wipes, creams, nappies, baby clothing, toys and food.

Clothing which has been worn, torn and can no longer be used by infants is also accepted and taken to Fallen Angels to be used for the animals.

“I don’t keep anything, everything I get gets used. I wait for the specials at stores and buy wipes in bulk.

“Lots of moms need cream and wipes, even if it’s been opened, they appreciate it so much. I try to get panties too, and just wash them twice. Some moms really have nothing. They leave hospital using a towel, and it’s unhygienic.

“I give them a bag filled with nappies, a towel, a blanket, a babygro and toiletries. It’s so worth it, especially when I go to the moms and give them a package and they start to cry,” said Amy.

Amy has also started providing essentials for children in the children’s ward and will soon be doing a drive to collect clothing for premature babies.

“I can’t leave anyone out. I drop off toys for them (the children), and it’s so nice to see how they show off their new toys or clothing. My motto is one kiddy at a time,” said Amy.

Donations have been streaming in from individuals who have joined the online Amy’s Baby Clothing Facebook page. The Kingsgate Fellowship Church in Table View also donated 120 knitted booty and beanie sets, and blankets for Amy to distribute.

“I could not believe it. It must have taken them so long to knit it all. It took me three trips in my car to get everything and I know how to pack.

“Eventually, I want to create a safe home for babies, because these babies deserve everything. They are not responsible for what they have or don’t have,” said Amy.

* If anyone would like to make a donation of clothing, food or toys to Amy’s Baby Clothing, you can contact Amy at 084 413 5835 to find out about drop-off points in Sunningdale or Melkbosstrand or email howes_amy@yahoo.com