We are very proud to announce our partnership with the amazing charity, Stripey Stork. The lovely ladies at Stripey Stork collect donations of toys, clothes and other items for babies and children essentials and they rehome them to families in Surrey experiencing hardship.
We first worked with Stripey Stork back in December 2018 during our 12 days of giving campaign. On the 12th day of our 12 days of giving we announced that we would donate 1 item to Stripey Stork for every order placed that day. You showed huge support for our joint mission and helped us make a big difference! You made a total of 190 orders with us on the day, meaning we had the pleasure of donating 190 different baby and family items to families in need.
But we didn’t want to just stop there! We believe Stripey Stork are invaluable to families experiencing hardship and are making a huge difference to those in need. We want to commit to continuing to support them on their mission so they can grow and help even more families.
Who are Stripey Stork?
Stripey Stork was started in August 2013. They are a volunteer run charity based in Surrey, started by a group of mums who wanted to see the items their babies and children no longer needed re-used in the local community. They support children and parents experiencing hardship by working in partnership with social services such as children’s centres, health visitors, women’s shelters and other social service agencies. All donations go directly to the families they support, and each item to someone who specifically needs it.
The concept is simple. They accept donations of new and pre-loved toys, clothes and equipment for babies and children, and after making sure they’re safe and clean, they re-home them to local families in need. Stripey Stork prides itself on passing on items in great condition. It's important the families who receive items feel they are receiving a gift and not a handout.
Stripey Stork take referrals from local health and community professionals and all items are passed on free of charge. In their first year Stripey Stork responded to 365 requests for help. In their second year, their first full year in operations, responded to 534 requests for help along with winning a number of awards. Their third year bought a move to a permanent 200sq space in Redhill – affectionately known as the ‘nest’ which helped them to respond to 815 requests for help.
Looking back on 2018 which was their biggest year for them yet - the previously set target of helping 2,018 requests in 2018 was massively exceeded. With the support of the local community, the staff and support services, Stripey Stork were able to help a massive 2,276 requests from their referral partners.
Looking towards 2019 they have set the target of answering 2,500 referral requests. With the demand for their services growing due to the introduction of Universal Credit and unemployment rising, they know this will be their biggest year to date. Natural Baby Shower want to help them succeed in reaching this target.
How have they helped?
Stripey Stork do not accept direct referrals and instead receive requests from local professionals (health visitors, social workers, children’s centres, women’s shelters etc) on behalf of families in need in Surrey- meaning they rarely meet the people they are helping face to face. However, there are times when families are so grateful for their help that they want to thank them for their support personally and to share their stories of hardship with the team. Below, Sarah from Stripey Stork recalls the time she had the privilege of hearing first hand the difference Stripey Stork has made to a family.
Zauna’s New Start
As part of my role at Stripey Stork, I work with the referral sources to discover stories about families we’re helping to support. Some of the stories can be extremely harrowing and some incredibly sad.
I heard about Zauna from one of the wonderful local Outreach Workers and her story quite caught me. She agreed to meet me to speak face to face, so that I could hear her story directly.
In the UK she experienced domestic abuse to the extent she was unable to sleep for fear of violence. She ended up fleeing from her unsafe situation and sleeping overnight in an office block, having had to declare herself and her three children homeless in the process. Then being relocated to East Surrey with just a single bag of belongings, but safely away from her abuser, she has had many obstacles to overcome, not least needing to work hard to support her children emotionally, the eldest child initially being particularly affected by his experiences and struggling to adapt.
Zauna welcomes me into her home, eager to make sure I am comfortable, offering me a drink before we sit down and start to talk. She tells me everything that has happened since arriving in the UK and there are times when I feel close to tears listening to what she’s overcome.
“I’m not going to lie to you, there were some days when I struggled to get out of bed, things were so tough, and I was so low.”
Despite working full time, there was not enough at the end of the month to provide clothing on top of all the bills. That’s where we could help. Since the family arrived in East Surrey, Stripey Stork have regularly provided the children with good quality items of clothing and shoes via their support worker as well as age-appropriate toys, books and games.
“When we arrived we really had nothing. Stripey Stork gave me hope that things were not as bad as I thought and that people cared.
The quality of the clothing is amazing, and receiving the packs means I can concentrate on my children and my job, and don’t have to worry about how I am going to afford a coat and shoes for them as they grow. My eldest child is becoming more aware of what we have compared to what his friends have, and the lovely clothes help him to fit in with his peers.
"I am so grateful to have this support, it means so much to us.”
There were times when the benefits system has been difficult to navigate, and it has meant that Zauna is having to rent a modest flat privately for her and the children. One thing that comes across loud and clear is her strong work ethic and she’s put herself under pressure to demonstrate this to her children. She wants to set an example of striving for more in life. Having gone back to college since arriving in East Surrey, she’s graduated in Business Information Technology, finding a full time job in the sector. Her job means early starts and she shows me the notes she writes for her children, reminding them she loves them and encouraging them to try their best at school. One child is now excelling in football, in demand by a local team, and another is exceeding in English and Maths.
When I reflect on Zauna’s story and that of her children, I am struck by the strength and positivity she’s shown. I consider my own family situation, complete with the daily annoyances that we all have, along with our “first world problems’. Zauna wants to help other women who’ve suffered similar abuse to her and I am sure she will be able to do that in the long term, but actually, maybe there is a message in her story for us all.
From working with Stripey Stork previously, hearing the amazing work they are doing to make a difference, meeting the amazing volunteers and seeing how they work, we just knew we had to help and get involved in any way we can! 2019 is going to be an amazing year for them as they continue to strive towards their mission to help the staggering 10% (22,640) children in Surrey alone living in poverty.
We are currently working on a number of exciting projects with Stripey Stork that we can’t wait to reveal to everyone. Keep an eye out for our next joint project to see how you can help us on our mission!
If you are interested in donating any unwanted items or volunteering your time to this amazing charity, you can email email@example.com or check out their website. Before donating check here to find out what items they accept.