THREE years ago this month the first Cuddle Bundles delivery was made.
A project of the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA), Cuddle Bundles are packs of essential baby items, put together by volunteers and delivered to needy mothers.
Today the program enjoys a team of 13 regular volunteers and has established relationships with hospitals, women’s shelters and refuges and community centres throughout Sydney.
With lockdown, Cuddle Bundles were inundated with requests and busier than ever before.
Cuddle Bundles chair Michele Brandenburger said the team have come across “many heartbreaking cases”.
“We got an urgent call about a beautiful baby boy who had not been expected to survive birth. As a result the parents had bought nothing for him. Miraculously he survived, and was going to be able to go home to meet his two-year-old sister,” she said.
“The request was for everything – clothing, bassinet, pram, a car capsule, et cetera, to make him as comfortable as possible for the duration of his short life expectancy. Within two hours of the request, everything had been packed and delivered to the hospital, including a gift for his sister.”
That same week the team was asked to assist a mother escaping domestic violence, and another with premature twin boys who had lost her last set of twins at 39 weeks, and whose husband had lost his job as a result of the pandemic.
“We went in that Sunday to get the bundles packed and delivered on the Monday,” Brandenburger said.
“Our volunteers are amazing – they receive drop-offs, sort every donation meticulously to meet our extremely high quality standards as we strive to show respect and dignity to our recipients. Volunteers often travel vast distances to deliver Cuddle Bundles.”
The program could not operate without the generous brand new donations from businesses, beautiful pre-loved items from local mothers, and “the wonderful knitting ladies”, she said.
Brandenburger said Tuesdays are “a hive of activity” with ladies sorting, packing for orders, or packing pamper packs.
“We all so enjoy being Cuddle Bundle volunteers, and the opportunity to hopefully make a small difference in the lives of mums and babies,” she said.