Powerhouse Mamas

Alanna Kelly

It started as a Kelowna Facebook group back in 2014 for mothers to be able to share items with other mothers.

Since then, it has grown exponentially, spreading across Canada.

“We have gone from a very small, grass roots non-profit organization to a power house charity that is truly tackling poverty in innovative and ground breaking ways,” said founder Shannon Christensen.

The idea started as a sharing economy to help mothers access items and services they were no longer in need of and could give to other mothers.

“Kindness is currency here, we are not selling any items, we are not having any money exchange hands, she said. “We are just going to be giving things away, the only regulation around that is you have to be nice to each other.”

And it took off.

Mamas for Mamas has mothers sharing items from on the east coast in Newfoundland and Labrador all the way to the west coast on Vancouver Island.

“It is really exciting to see it grow across Canada, it is not about just having this one beautiful space but we want there to be a Mamas for Mamas community in every community,” said Christensen.

Christensen never thought they would have achieved their goals this soon and said it is all thanks to Jillian Harris, known for her role on The Bachelor and Love it or List it Vancouver, and the team at Sticks + Stones Design Group Inc.

The Mamas for Mamas team was kicked out of their office for three weeks as Harris was busy redesigning their entire space.

“We had a $210,000 renovation that was donated by Jillian Harris and the team at Sticks and Stones,” she said. “It took us from a place of survival into thriving, just like we do with our mamas."

The once green floors and purple walls have been replaced with marble counter tops and hardwood floors.

“She made it like home; it feels like home,” she said.

More than beautiful new decor, the location on Dolphin Avenue now has added even more service for mamas.

“Right now we have implemented the mental health program from one day to three days, we have a new volunteer social worker helping families who need more support,” she said.

Seven people are working as full-time employees at Mamas for Mamas and there are 15 volunteers who help to manage the operations since it became a charity in January 2017.

“No more falling through the cracks and because of the people who have stepped forward to donate financially, we really really can continue that.”

Christensen is looking to bring Mamas for Mamas into the United Stated and is working on plans around housing in the Okanagan.

“We aren’t going to talk about it quite yet… until we have something locked down,” she said. “There is some pretty exciting stuff around that.”

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