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Even in prosperous New Zealand, many babies are born into families lacking the most basic things to keep the baby warm, clean and safe.

Last evening our speaker was Jo Alderdice, the founder and national manager of ‘Little Sprouts’. She and partner Andy Sole started Little Sprouts in 2013 and at first, operated the charity out of their garage in Whitby.

They assemble ‘baby packs’ and provide them free to needy families so that new-borns can get the best start in life. They are distributed through partner charities such as Women’s Refuge, the Red Cross, the Neonatal Trust, and Birthright.

The contents of the baby packs include clothing, sleeping bags, nappies and wipes, books and toys, safety items and toiletries. Most of these items are donated by individuals and business sponsors, families and ‘craft angels’ who make blankets, toys etc. The rest are purchased directly, at an average cost of $103 per pack.

From small beginnings Little Sprouts has expanded nationally and has eight branches, with more planned. In 2019 it will distribute about $1Million worth of baby packs.

Little Sprouts has put together an effective chain to help babies get what they need in the critical first year. Social workers identify mothers, or families, in need, they alert the partner charities, and Little Sprouts provide the packs. Jo estimates that up to 10% of new-borns need this kind of help. Refugee families are particularly needy.

Club members can help by donating material for the packs, making craft items, providing funds, or volunteering with making up or distributing packs. We should be able to link Little Sprouts with our upcoming book fair.

Jo is an engaging speaker and enthused the club with her talk. It was a splendid success story, and it all started in Whitby.

Little Spouts - growing fast

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