Give generously to women and children in crisis, a charity has urged - but please, no dirty laundry.

The Aunties has called for linen - ideally cotton, fitted sheets either double or queen-sized.

But head aunty Jackie Clark urged donaters to wash the linen first. She said the charity tried to do quality control when picking up donations but poor quality items invariably slip through.

This isn't the first time Clark has been in the headlines for her requests. Just before Christmas she caused a stir when she told donors "no more tinned tomatoes".

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Head aunty Jackie Clark has limited storage space so makes specific requests to ensure only high-quality in-demand items are donated. Photo / Supplied
Head aunty Jackie Clark has limited storage space so makes specific requests to ensure only high-quality in-demand items are donated. Photo / Supplied

Clark said women often needed to put sheets on the bed "there and then" and had no time to wash it themselves. Plus, donating dirty things was "really disrespectful and rude".

"I need bedding. Not so much single sheets, but double and queen sheets. Especially fitted sheets. We get all the flat sheets but not so many fitted sheets. Not flannelette, I just want plain cotton.

"And I want them to be freshly washed. It's really important, mostly because your yuck germs.

"But actually it's more important because when women get stuff that's been freshly laundered it smells beautiful and it makes them feel really loved and cared for.

"People know we care about them and that stuff is quite powerful because that stuff gives them hope. And that's what can spark something in them that's like 'yup I can do this'."

Clark never used to make specific requests when she started The Aunties five years ago, but she soon found herself inundated with useless items, which were a struggle to fit into limited storage space.

"It's like the tomatoes, if I say 'no tomatoes' then we'll get a few. But if you don't say that you end up getting thousands of cans.

"You work out how to get what you need in a manageable and sustainable way."

Charity should not be about giving people discarded leftovers and them being grateful for it Clark said, who has helped about 600 women since 2013. Instead she used "the stuff" as a vehicle to engage and help women.

She cites a young woman she had befriended at a Christmas party last year. Clark had taken her to a nice lunch at a cafe then to the storage shed for the woman to choose some clothes.

"I've seen this a number of times at the storage unit.

"She had just come out of a really sick, violent relationship. She's been battered down and hasn't been allowed to wear nice clothes or perfume, she hasn't been able to look after herself.

"She was sorting through the clothes, the textures, the beautiful smell of them, which is really important. Her face was lifting with every piece of clothing she was looking at.

"She said to me 'you give me hope'. That stuff brings a lot of joy."

The best way to help The Aunties is by donating directly to their bank account - 12-3077-0008717-00 - or visit their website to learn more.