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| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn.catholic.org.au
Coffee + Kids
= community By TRACEY EDSTEIN
"ICAME ALONG for my children to have
playtime with other children, and to
have a cup of coffee without it being cold!"
Kerry Golledge of Tea Gardens, mother
of three young children, is talking about
Yummies 4 Mummies, an initiative
of St Stephen's Catholic community
Tea Gardens that is proving very popular.
In fact, there have been requests to make
the fortnightly gathering more frequent!
The aim of the initiative is to assist young
parents in the community to establish
social networks within a relaxed and
Every second Wednesday morning, except
in school holidays, young Mums (and so
far, one Dad) are welcomed to the Parish
Centre for a luscious morning tea and
conversation, and sometimes a guest
speaker. For pre-schoolers, there is the
opportunity to play with other children and
try out toys that are different from the
ones they have at home!
As 'dreamer' of Yummies 4 Mummies
Rhonda Bobako explains, "There are great
opportunities here for us to expand, so
we're constantly thinking --- what else
can we do to support young families?
Yummies 4 Mummies is a starting point
for outreach --- not a finishing point!"
The angels who make Yummies 4
Mummies happen are parishioners who
prepare the Parish Centre, serve flat
whites and cappuccinos, bring some
goodies for morning tea and clean up
afterwards. The local Tea Gardens
bakery also supports the initiative by
kind donations of delicious delights.
Helper, Mary Knight says, "I'm just happy
to be here to help support the young ones.
If the mothers have a problem they can
talk it over with each other or the helpers."
Joanne Crighton came from Sydney
earlier this year for her husband's work.
"I was concerned about being isolated
with a young child at home. Yummies 4
Mummies has been a godsend, we feel
like we fit into the community now."
In fact Joanne says, "It's encouraged
me to come back to Mass and to get to
know people in the community." However,
Rhonda insists, "This is not about
bringing people to church, it's about being
church. We are the face of Jesus to this
diverse ecumenical group. We are happy
to share our wisdom if asked."
The lone male in attendance, Jim
Arneman, began coming with two year
old Rory when Jim's wife returned to
work. "It's been good for Rory too, as
an only child, to socialise. We haven't
got relatives within cooee, and there
are grandmothers in the parish whose
grandkids aren't close, so it works
Pastoral Co-ordinator and Sister of Charity
Margaret Valentine agrees. "The idea
is to create community. After parents
have seen their children to school,
they drop into our Centre for a chat
and a cuppa. We'd love to extend an
invitation to the whole family to gather
at future outreach functions. In this way
we can develop a sense of belonging
Meanwhile, the Mums, (Dad) and children
benefit enormously from being welcomed
by women with what Rhonda describes as
"willing hearts and a love of children and
(from left, clockwise) Laura Howar th, Cathryn Gamble and Jack, Mary Leafe,
Peta Shelton and Gingerlily, Thomas Crighton.
(l-r) Rory and Jim Arneman with Rhonda Bobako.
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