Welcome to The Aunties – I’m Jackie. I’m the Aunty In Charge. I’ve been doing this for almost five years, now.
If you’re curious about what I/we do, it is simply this. I am the interface between a number of community organisations, and a group of people called The Aunties whose primary focus is to provide the material needs for the people who use the services of those organisations. The organisations/people we support are: Te Rōopu O Te Whānau Te Rangimariē O Tamaki Makaūrau; The NZ Prostitute’s Collective; the emergency housing team of social workers for the Salvation Army; a youth justice worker and her clients; and an expanding number of women in the community who are referred to me from these organisations, and also from women’s refuges, and the Family Harm programme.
In March 2013, I started helping out the refuge co-ordinator at a tiny refuge in South Auckland to get some needs met. In October 2013, after a bereavement, I sought the help of some other women and we have grown from there.
If you’re interested in reading a bit more about what I do, you can find that here.
All of that may sound a lot, and it is. But I couldn’t do any of it, not a bit of it, without the money that people so kindly give, and the Aunties who give me not only stuff, but huge amounts of support.
The Aunties, quite simply, are the reason I get to do what I do. They provide what the women need, when I ask them to. Whether it’s a trip to the art gallery for two little girls, or $20 in the bank account to buy women chocolate, it all counts, and it’s all really important. The Aunties are this extraordinary living organism – there are around 50 hard core Aunties who are always giving stuff and money. And how do you get to be an Aunty? You give once. That’s it.
We also have a very strong kaupapa of giving with love. Meeting needs with aroha is our business. I am insistent on this. If you aren’t about giving with love, and no judgement, then this isn’t the charity for you. This community of donors has been carefully collated over the last 5 years, and I am a bit demanding, because the women we serve deserve the very best at a really vulnerable time of their lives. When people need what you have, I expect that you give without strings attached. You will be thanked, by me (I cry, quite a lot, because people’s kindness is always overwhelming to me) but you will never likely meet the people you are giving to. We are about our whānau, primarily. Their needs come first. This needs to be remembered at all times.
And the women you are giving to feel your love. I assure you of this. When people are given crap, and not what they need, they feel like crap. And when they feel like crap already, I believe that the poor quality of what’s been given to them compounds their pain, and does them more damage. I’ve seen it. And I’ve also seen -see it every day – the restorative and healing power of things that are given with heart, care, and thoughtfulness.
I am also ably supported by the Board of our Trust. We’ve had a Board for around a year – these are all people I have hand picked for the skills and life experience. They are: our chairperson Michele A’Court, our secretary Phil, our treasurer Elaine, and board members Paul, Julie, Kerry (our funding person) and Jackson (and me).
If you think you can provide anything on this list, send me an email and we’ll take it from there. The process for donations works like this: You contact me, I put you on my list and that list goes, every Friday, to Jay who will pick up your donations over the weekend. From there, he takes your donations to our storage unit.
The storage unit is in Wiri, and is tidied on a very regular basis. When women need something, they contact me, or their social workers or agencies contact me, and I either pick them up and take them to the storage unit or they meet me there. Once there, they get to pick and choose what they need/want – by and large, this is towels/bedding/clothes for them and their children – and I encourage them to take as much as they possibly can. (Otherwise the unit would overflow and it wouldn’t work for anyone). While we’re there is when the really important work starts. We talk, and laugh, and sometimes we cry. We talk about our lives, about our pain, and everything in between.
This is the main reason that the Aunties stands out in this field – we cater for women’s specific needs, and they get what they need/want when they need/want it. Including lots of love, if that’s what they’re after.
This is a grass roots effort to support a burgeoning number of people, and to meet their needs. I am available for public speaking. I have spoken to schools, Probus groups, retired folk, a Lion’s Club, and am booked next year to speak at a Humanist’s Conference.
All fees go to the Aunties bank account.
We thank you for your compassion and care.
The Aunties is a registered charitable trust.
Our registration number is: CC54387
You can contact me @whaeapower on Twitter
Or come and check out our Facebook page!