Supporting mums in the cost-of-living crisis

The Affordable Wardrobe project in action at Mildura Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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Mums At The Table is helping to address the cost-of-living crisis through a new initiative that tackles environmental waste at the same time. Local Mums At The Table groups have organised clothing swap events for the community in towns including Mildura (Vic), Wahroonga (NSW) and Ipswich (Qld).

“People are stretching their last dollars and we see it among our mums especially,” said Larissa Forbes-Wilson, volunteer moderator for the Mildura Mums At The Table group. “From clothing their kids to feeding their kids, it’s everywhere.”

Mums At The Table, a ministry of Adventist Media, partners with local Seventh-day Adventist churches to serve mums in the local community. Working with volunteer moderators from local churches, Mums At The Table organises in-person events to connect with community mums. The ministry also shares parenting information on digital media.

The Mildura group runs the Affordable Wardrobe, where mums can find good quality children’s clothing for free or a voluntary donation. All the clothes in the Affordable Wardrobe are donated, and Ms Forbes-Wilson washes, sorts and stores the clothes in her garage until the next event.

Many of the clothing swap events are held at the start of a new season, when parents are looking for new sizes of summer or winter clothes for their children.

Over in Wahroonga, the initiative is called “Give Gain Swap”. It was started by former Upper North Shore group volunteer moderator Bréane Chapman in 2023 and includes children’s toys and books as well. Attendees are welcome—but not expected—to bring something and are welcome to take anything on offer without cost.

“There’s also an environmental aspect to it: How can we help to reduce waste in landfill and increase the amount of wear for clothes,” said Brooke Sutton, who has continued Give Gain Swap as the new Upper North Shore group volunteer moderator.

“I think it’s a great example of Christianity in action. I follow a generous and loving God, who blesses our family abundantly, even when we don’t recognise it. How can I not pass that on? And generosity is infectious, especially when it comes with no strings attached. Generosity and grace are hard to ignore.”

Ipswich Mums At The Table group concluded their most recent clothing swap event, called “Fill-a-Bag”, at the end of May. The Ipswich group has included not only donated children’s clothes and items, but teen and adult clothes as well. For a gold coin donation, attendees can fill a bag with as many items as they wish.

“About 60 people came through and we were able to help with just bags and bags of clothes,” said Ewelina Arevalo, volunteer moderator for the Ipswich group. “We started with about 30 very full 52-litre boxes and at the end of the day, we had less than 15 boxes left. There is such a need for this in our area and we will definitely look at doing another one of these events in about six months.”

Most of the clothing swap events organised by the local Mums At The Table group are held at the local Adventist church or school hall. 

The Affordable Workshop typically operates at the Mildura Seventh-day Adventist church hall while playgroup is happening. This way, the kids are able to play while their mums “shop”.

“Mums are just so happy to be able to pick up high-quality clothing . . . so many just can’t believe the generosity of others,” said Ms Forbes-Wilson.

There are currently 21 local groups in Australia and New Zealand, moderated by 67 church members, representing 28 Seventh-day Adventist churches. Depending on the moderators’ availability, local events—or meet-ups—range from weekly playgroups to playground and café catch-ups or even dessert nights.

Churches or individuals interested in being part of the ministry can find out more at or email Mums At The Table at

* Names changed to protect privacy.

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