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Medal honours people behind capital’s beloved baby care packs

Nov 25th, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Lead Story, News

CARE PACKER: Jo Alderdice – founder of Little Sprouts, mother and Local Hero medal recipient.

WITHIN a year Jo Alderdice and her Little Sprouts charity have gone from making one baby care pack to being one of 20 Wellington Local Heroes for the year.

Little Sprouts turns plain brown cardboard boxes into care packs filled with treasures for mothers who find it difficult to otherwise get the items for their new babies.

Ms Alderdice was presented with a medal last night.

The idea for Little Sprouts was sown in 2001 after Alderdice set out to find more aid for young babies and expectant mothers.

A former corporate lawyer, Alderdice kicked Little Sprouts into action last year, getting businesses on board to donate items for the care packs.

“When we started, we thought who are we to decide who is needy and needs our support most?”

Little Sprouts reached out to community services which would welcome free baby care packs and find families who would best use them.

Their partners now include Wesley Community Action, Barnados, the Salvation Army, New Zealand Red Cross Refugee Services, The House of Grace and Birthright.

Last September, the first care pack was sent off and packs have since been distributed by partners throughout the lower North Island.

Packs include most baby essentials.

Toys and books make boxes a little special, and there are always practical items like smoke alarms, baby thermometers and a baby guide with helpful tips.

Ms Alderdice says she used to be quite saddened about the negative things going on in the world and felt there was not much she could do.

“I can’t change our world, but I can change my little bit of it.”

Nearly 100 volunteers also do their bit for Little Sprouts.

They include people at Little Sprouts donation drop off points, “craft angels” creating baby clothes or fundraising goodies, fixing pre-loved items, and packing.

FINAL CHECK: Jo Alderdice takes a look at a Little Sprouts baby care pack ready for a newborn at Wellington Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

Little Sprouts supplies all Wellington Women’s Refuge centres with baby packs on an on-call basis.

Special packs are also sent to the Wellington Neo-natal unit, with merino fabric and products for premature babies.

Ms Alderdice says there are plans for an Auckland branch of Little Sprouts to be running by the end of the year.

Little Sprouts is run from her own home in Whitby, which means being involved with it over 40 hours a week.

“We have been looking at finding another base for Little Sprouts, but every dollar that we fundraise goes into our baby boxes. We were very clear from the start that nothing was going to take away from that.”

“It’s pretty full on,” says Ms Alderdice, who has three sons under the age of 7.

“It’s all worthwhile though. My sons also take great pride in what Little Sprouts achieves. They love helping to put the boxes together – one of them always says he’s packing for the baby sprouts.”

Little Sprouts will be hosting an Easter Country Fair on March 22 next year, with all proceeds going towards their baby packs.

“There’s going to be a petting zoo, magician, local artisans donating their work – from the wheelie bins carting away rubbish, to every one of the stalls – I’ve been really blown away by the whole community getting behind us.”

Other highlights include an ugliest pumpkin competition, friendly eels and a bake-off judged by a former New Zealand Hottest Home Baker contestant.

The free event will be at the historic Battle Hill forest park, near Pauahatanui, Porirua.


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