Laura Howard For Auckland mum-of-two Laura Howard, the thunderbolt hit at the most unexpected time: while she was at Birthcare having her first child, Siena, in 2013. Her midwife made a comment about how some newborns at South Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital were sent home in baby-sized hospital gowns as their families had no clothes for them. “As a mum of a newborn, my heart was touched and I couldn’t forget that conversation. In fact, her words replayed in my mind over and over again in those first few months,” she says. “I started to notice that friends were wondering what to do with the mountain of baby clothes and other gear their little ones had outgrown, so the idea of a charity to help babies in need was conceived.” Laura’s not-for-profit organisation, Littlemore, now provides clothes and other essentials for thousands of Kiwi babies. Thoughtful parents donate the baby bits and bobs they no longer need, then Littlemore facilitates the delivery of them to disadvantaged families. More than 3500 bags of baby clothes have been gifted through the organisation, which now has more than 40 volunteers. “The wonderful feeling of being able to help in a small way brings me such joy and fulfilment and this has been true from the outset,” she says. “A maternity ward staff member at Middlemore once
said to me, “I wish you could be a little birdie on my shoulder when I hand items to families and see their genuine appreciation... it’s as if a great big load has been lifted from their shoulders.” The hot demand for the important organisation means Laura, a former art curator, has quickly mastered the art in transitioning from charity boss to mum of Siena, now four, and Marco. “My biggest challenge has been balancing the running and growth of a volunteer-run charity with my growing family,” she says. “But now that I have a team of skilled volunteers on board, I have moved into a role as a trustee to focus on strategy, which allows me to spend more time with my kids.” Families can donate baby items to Littlemore every Saturday, 9am-10am, at Storage King, 300 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn, Auckland or send them via post – visit littlemore.co.nz for more information.