The first time Katrina Schmahl set up a registry with The Good Registry was four years ago when her son, Harri, was a baby. Since then, she has set up a registry at least once a year - usually at Christmas - but also for other events like birthdays or anniversaries. Rachael Bhadury recently sat down with Katrina to ask her about why this type of giving was important to her.
What led you to get involved with The Good Registry?
The Good Registry combines two causes I feel strongly about - supporting others and reducing the impact that giving often has on our planet. I really love the idea of replacing giving stuff (that often breaks or is forgotten about within a few weeks) with supporting causes you care about. Having been involved with community organisations over the years, I know that a small amount can make a big difference!
You have two gorgeous children, Harri and Lia - what do you hope they see when your family does this type of gift giving?
I would hope that they come to understand how fortunate they are to have not only toys and clothes and food, but also a safe and loving environment. When I was growing up, my mum was actively involved with the Women's Refuge and worked in the community. I didn't really understand until I was an adult how important it is to give back and be part of something bigger than yourself.
Another major reason for giving via the Good Registry is that I am increasingly aware of the impact of climate change on them in terms of the planet they will inhabit when they're my age. I feel like reducing the amount of stuff, and supporting causes such as Sustainable Coastlines and Eco Matters is a way we can positively affect change.
Sometimes it can feel a bit awkward to ask friends and family to give to a registry - do you have any tips for others who may feel apprehensive about communicating their registry to their friends or family?
I think it's important not to assume that other family members feel the same way you do, and that buying physical gifts, for example at Christmas, is a way many people show love and care. Rather than try to make huge changes instantly, I found sharing why this was important to me and making a request to reduce the amount of new 'stuff' year by year is more realistic and sustainable. One year I asked everyone to try to only give gifts which were "homemade, pre-loved or an experience" instead of new stuff and that worked well.
I think a big thing for me is all the plastic packaging that comes with new stuff. Often you can find lightly or unused toys that other families are handing on which give them a new home (and joy to kids!), save them from landfill and come without the packaging!
Your most recent charity you gave to was KidsCan, what’s important to you about this charity?
I admire the practical support KidsCan give to kids and their families who don't have the basics of food and clothing which ultimately affects their wellbeing and ability to learn. I feel so fortunate that my family has these basics (as well as health and a safe, dry place to live) so it's important to me to help others (via KidsCan) because I can.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
No, nothing I can think of - just that I feel very passionately about this!