Mums' Cottage and the Pandemic
Sr Helen Anne writes about the way the Mums’ Cottage volunteers are assisting their neighbours during these COVID times and the generosity of people supporting them.
This latest outbreak of the Delta virus and subsequent lockdown of Mums’ Cottage has been extremely challenging for the volunteers and guests. This particular variant has caused anxiety and at times, fear in so many of our participants. After sharing the situation with several members at the Cottage it was obvious that a raft of emotions previously not experienced were emerging this time – uncertainty, fear, helplessness, despondency and isolation.
In an effort to address the situation before it escalated further, a three-tiered structure was designed as a framework for adjusting to the imposed restrictions and our inability to offer the usual services at the Cottage. The structure consisted of Mums’ Cottage Prayer Chain; a Grapevine Linkup and lastly, the Neighbourhood Connection.
Mums’ Cottage Prayer Chain: All our friends and volunteers were invited to pause each evening at 5.30, light a candle and pray Pope Francis’ prayer for the Pandemic. The needs of the Cottage families and the people of Afghanistan were included in this spiritual connection. Feedback from various participants has revealed an increased feeling of hope and a sense of involvement. The original number has increased each week since we began.
Grapevine Linkup: The volunteers were keen to keep in contact with each other to provide companionship which is the keynote value of the ministry at Mums’ Cottage. This aspect required each person to ring other colleagues or send them a card or email message regularly. Such connection has energised and given those involved a sense of purpose. Several new mothers have voiced the value of this engagement.
Neighbourhood connection: Many of the volunteers have continued keeping an eye on their neighbours. This began at the first lockdown last year. Several are cooking extra meals to share with their neighbours.
Extraordinary support that has been given to Mums’ Cottage to assist our families. To name some:
The residents of the Lakeside Court where I live have donated bags of food and toiletries over the last few weeks;
A local Handyman donated $500 to help our families;
A young Mum spent her tax return cheque on food for our families;
The local Woolworths store in Cameron Park donated boxes of groceries for our use;
Several friends of the volunteers have joined our daily Prayer Chain
Two boxes of groceries were left anonymously on the Cottage verandah.
All of the issues documented above indicate strongly that the work of Mums’ Cottage is being directed by the Lord whose provident hand is always guiding us. The ministry of compassionate companionship has never been more critical over the nine years of its operation than it is at this time. For this we extend our gratitude and admiration. So join us as we ask our Gracious God for an increase of wisdom, creativity and energy to answer our call to serve in His name.