Mums of Macksville - shining legacy

Mums of Macksville's Frances Robinson. Photo Mick Birtles
Mums of Macksville's Frances Robinson. Photo Mick Birtles

THERE is a well used proverb that states 'All good things must come to an end' and sadly this is true.

The Nambucca-based charity group, 'Mums of Macksville' was indeed a very good thing however, due to a range of circumstances, it has now come to an end.

This past week I had the great pleasure of speaking with Frances Robinson, one of the founders of Mums of Macksville, to learn what this wonderful initiative was all about and to find out why it had to close down.

The Mums of Macksville began when some local ladies were gifted 17 bags of beautiful fabric and they decided it must be made into bed covers for those in need. The ladies were mothers, daughters, granddaughters or friends of veterans and they knew that many who were having difficulties were not being met by other means.

The ladies considered if someone was willing to give their life in the service of their country, they should know that people care about them, especially when they hit hard times.

These caring souls decided to call themselves the Mums of Macksville and, with the help from the generosity of many in the broader community, their efforts soon spread to help several women's refuges, a mums and bubs group, Dads in Distress, people affected by bushfires and a number of veterans' charities.

In three-and-a-half years, Mums of Macksville amassed and distributed a staggering range of warm bedding, toiletries and other items to those in need. All of the items the Mums of Macksville received were donated.

Some church groups, a child care group, a fitness group and a number of other organisations got behind Frances and the team for their wonderful cause.

The Mums put together care packs that consist of essential toiletries, and Frances said often she liked to slip in some comfort items like perfume and hand creams just so people knew that someone cares.

The vast majority of the care packs go north to be distributed by the wonderful veterans' charity, Wounded Heroes. The items then find their way to veterans, or their families, who are homeless, at risk of self harm or have suffered some form of tragedy.

Frances said the reason they supported Wounded Heroes was because it is a volunteer-run organisation and everything the Mums send goes directly to where it is needed. The Mums of Macksville have been proud to be associated with Wounded Heroes as they are at the coal face when it comes to so many veterans, men and women, who have needed urgent help.

There are a number of initiatives that Wounded Heroes have instigated which Frances says are very worthy of community support. It breaks her heart to know that young Australians who have served our nation have wound up on the streets due to circumstances linked to their military service.

In 2018 Frances and her compassion was formally recognised by the community when she was awarded the Nambucca Vally's Senior Citizen of the Year, a much deserved accolade.

Unfortunately the Mums of Macksville has had to cease operations, a combination of the senior age of her volunteers and the pressures and restrictions on charities linked to COVID-19.

Frances strongly urges all those wonderful individuals and organisations in the community who have been assisting Mums of Macksville in the past to continue making things - however, pass them on to respective charities as a personal donation.

Frances said she hopes the public continues to support Wounded Heroes and asked if as many folk as possible could go to the website wwwwoundedheroes.org.au and participate in the 84AM8 project which is about donating $8, the cost of two cups of coffee, to Wounded Heroes that will go to funding their vital work.

Frances considers the cost of two cups of coffee to help those who have put their life on the line is not too much to ask.

Mums of Macksville would be a hard act to follow and their great work will be missed. Many of the care packs the Mums put together included a note book and pen as they consider that sometimes it helps to get stuff out of your head by writing it down.

I was touched to find that these notebooks included a label that simply read 'made by someone in the Macksville area who cares'. Thank you Mums of Macksville for your contribution to veterans and their families.

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