ACT News

Big savings for multiple-birth families at clothing swap

"One can never be trained for such a reality where all of a sudden, instead of having one child, it's three."

Canberra Rabbi Shmueli Feldman spent a frustrating five years trying to conceive children with his wife, Chasia.

Expensive: Multiple-birth families face bigger budgeting challenges.
Expensive: Multiple-birth families face bigger budgeting challenges. Photo: Janie Barrett

When their bundles of joy came, they arrived all at once.

Mrs Feldman gave birth to five children within four years, which included their triplets, Menachem, Zalman and Sima, in 2013.

"One child is a full-time job, having three is a triple full-time job," he said.

"You don't just have one baby waking up in the middle of the night, you have three babies waking up all at different times."

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Canberra and Region Multiple Birth Association (CARMBA) director Karen Stewart-Moore said families with multiple births face the same challenges as other parents, only "magnified".

During the year CARMBA, assisted by volunteers, runs a program of special events and provides services to support multiple-birth parents, such as respite care and counselling.  

On Sunday they will host a clothing swap encouraging  the public to donate clothes their children had outgrown and they will receive a bundle of clothing in exchange.

Ms Stewart-Moore said the event would be "bigger than Ben-Hur".

As most parents know, the cost of children's clothing is expensive and even more so for parents of "multiples", Ms Stewart-Moore said.  

 "It's a great way to clothe our kids for next to nothing, so many baby clothes are barely ever worn," she said.

CARMBA also helps provide a "social network" for parents under strain.

"The challenges of getting out and about are greater with multiple births," she said.

"People who are new to Canberra may not have networks in place (and) we want to build networks where parents can find support."

Rabbi Feldman and his wife initially struggled to manage the birth of their triplets.

They  received help from CARMBA volunteers and he was touched by "two remarkable ladies" who would try to come once a week if they weren't volunteering elsewhere.

"It gives you an extra pair of hands to take the edge off," he said.

Rabbi Feldman runs the Gan Yisroel community and childcare centre, which opened last year and is hosting the clothing swap.

The CARMBA children's clothing swap will take place from 10am – 12pm on Sunday at the Gan Yisroel centre at 3 Gari Place, Giralang.

For a $5 entry fee, participants can bring in bags of clothing which they can swap or purchase a bag outright for $15.

Items not sold or swapped will be donated to other charities such as the Salvation Army.

Damaged or stained clothing will not be accepted for donations.