Charity appeal reveals surge in calls from parents struggling to make ends meet

Charity appeal reveals surge in calls from parents struggling to make ends meet
File image of woman struggling with bills

A charity initially set up to help mums and their babies are receiving over 2000 calls a month - most recently from desperate parents who don't want their children to wake up on December 25th to no presents and no Christmas.

Laken and Emily's Baby Bank says that although most requests are from single parents in emergency accommodation, many more are from working parents who can't afford the extras after paying high rents or mortgage costs.

Laken Mellor (28) from Athy, Kildare and school-friend Emily Watson (31) from Trim, Co. Meath teamed up almost a year ago to initially help out struggling mums with newborn babies and donate clothes, furniture and baby milk.

However the requests for help have spiralled from families all over the country through their Facebook page.

"It's just getting worse all the time," said Laken who is herself a single mum to four young children.

"Recently we helped a granny in Meath who was going to rear her three grandchildren as their mum was terminally ill in hospital.

"She literally only had a small pension to live on herself.

"We also helped too a teenage girl who had no where to go when she got pregnant.

"In the last months or so, mams have been begging for help with Christmas because they don't want their children to wake up on Christmas morning with nothing.

"Many of these are living in emergency accommodation, many are working people who just can't make ends meet after paying bills.

As a single parent, I used to find myself most weeks stuck to provide for my children and because I am a working mother, there was very little help for me and that is why I decided to set up this charity.

"I know how hard it is to provide for a baby, let along bills, food and heating. I can fully understand and relate with parents who find it hard to ask for help."

"We only ask that people pay it forward so that when they are finished with the stuff that we give them, they pass it on and don't sell it."

Although the majority of cases are genuine, Laken and Emily try and check out everyone due to some people who 'chance their arm.'

"People have been fantastically generous with donations but unfortunately we've seen stuff that we have given out literally up for sale on the internet hours after they received it.

"One woman wanted a brand new cot, even sending us a picture of the one she wanted. When we offered her a second-hand one, she told us where to go.

"The majority though are really in need and struggling to give their babies or their children the basics, never mind the little extras at this time of the year.

"Imagine if you had to see your child absolutely devastated on waking up on what's meant to be the most magical day of the year with no presents, no sweets, no heat, no home, nothing."

Their Facebook page can be accessed here

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