Thanks to Napier mum, Gabby Allen, the month of June is now synonymous with gifting pyjamas to families in need.
Some call them jammies, or pyjamas or PJs … Gabby lovingly calls them “a flannelette hug”.
Every winter for the last seven years Gabby has run a winter clothing drive via her much-loved Facebook community, Out and about with kids in Hawke’s Bay.
When Gabby became a mother she realised what a vulnerable time of life it is. She started the Facebook page “thinking I’d connect with 100 or so local mums.” On day three she had 700 followers and today there are over 22,000 with a monthly page reach in the millions – an amazing achievement considering her following is 100% organic, and facilitated by just one person … Gabby.
Running OAA by herself takes Gabby up to 30 (voluntary) hours a week. This is on top of holding down a paid job, and raising her own family, including a child with health challenges. She helps many individually, but the impact she has is multiplied exponentially by providing thousands of others with a platform to be kind and nurturing, and to give as well as receive.
Gabby describes herself as “a proud Napier Mum who loves Hawke’s Bay, its people, my family, the community, and supporting others via this awesome social media platform.”
65% of Hawke’s Bay babies are born into poverty. As well as the winter drive, she also runs the year-round ‘Our Babies’ project, putting together around 1,000 newborn packs annually in her garage.
Over the years Gabby has distributed over 70,000 warm winter items via local agencies, including clothing, pillows and blankets. She even managed to successfully run Jammies for June in Level 3 lockdown last year. It takes six months of planning and she will be distributing items right up until Christmas. This year she aims to help get warm PJ’s and other new items out to over 5,000 local children.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be able to clothe my children in fresh warm PJ’s … it really is a luxury some of us do not think about. Please don’t underestimate how meaningful a ‘great big flannelette PJ hug means to those who are doing it a little tough. It’s not just a pair of pyjamas it’s a gesture of kindness, love and support from one person, one family, one school, one business, one club to another.”
Gabby has many touching stories and says one of the most rewarding things is when a family who have been helped by OAA in the past are now in a position to be able to help others in the community.
It’s not always parents reaching out to Gabby, she often assists grandparents raising grandchildren. She tells the story of a grandfather raising a 12-year-old boy with a severe heart condition. They told Gabby the day they got the PJs was “the best day of their lives”.
“Small things help in a big way and every-one can get involved,” says Gabby.
As they are a gift, she asks for donations of new pyjamas only.
“Get fundraising, have a PJ day … get the team together the school, the office, the business, family together and as a team we will send thousands of warm flannelette hugs out to the children who need our help the most.”
As an individual you can either purchase kids pyjamas (flannelette are great) and drop them at any Tremains Real Estate office across Hawke’s Bay, Baby Factory Napier branch, or Uncle cafe in Ahuriri by 31 July 2021. Or, make a financial donation of any size (even $2 makes a difference) and Gabby will purchase sizes based on specific need on your behalf.
Account details: Out and About with Kids in HB, 03-0698-0143424-000. Please include with J4J in the reference line.
And if you can’t donate, you can still help by sharing her Jammies for June Facebook post, she would be most grateful.