New Parents Get A Bellyful!

Anyone who’s ever had a newborn baby in the house will understand just how life changing it can be. A lack of sleep plus juggling the demands of a small baby is a challenge for the best of us. It’s even more of a challenge if you have no family or support network or you have other children who are struggling with serious illness. Bellyful West Auckland is making a massive difference to these families. The charity offers practical help and support by cooking and delivering free meals to families with newborn babies or young children facing serious illnesses.

Part of a nationwide network, Bellyful was set up in 2009. The West Auckland branch is very busy, helping up to 40 families a month on average at a time when they need it the most. Bellyful West Auckland is run entirely by volunteers who get together once a month to prepare the meals in a ‘cookathon’. Tasty and nutritious, firm favourites include macaroni cheese, Bolognese sauce and lasagne. Meals are then packaged and stored in a freezer before being delivered by volunteers to families in need.

Referrals to Bellyful are made by health professionals, Plunket or family and friends, or families can refer themselves directly.

It’s a simply idea that’s providing a lifeline for many. One such family is West Auckland local and mum Harmony and her daughter Aria.

‘I had just returned home from hospital with my brand new baby girl and was feeling a little overwhelmed, explains Harmony.

‘Getting up every 30 minutes to feed my daughter was tough, trying to get used to her sleep patterns and needs. I thought I should be able to do it all on my own, but I really couldn’t.

‘Then there was a knock on the door and a lady appeared with all these meals. They didn’t ask for anything from me. They just wanted to help and make things a bit easier.

‘The food was amazing,’ advises Harmony. ‘Really good filling meals that you could just heat up and eat when you wanted to. Having those meals meant there was one less thing to worry about in my crazy busy new life as a mum.’

As a volunteer organisation, Bellyful West Auckland relies entirely on fundraising and donations. They successfully applied to this year’s Million Dollar Mission for $6,000 to provide help with supplies of ingredients, containers, packaging and much more.

‘The fantastic support of the Million Dollar Mission will have a really positive impact on what we are able to do over the next 12 months,’ says Tracy Cox, Branch Coordinator for Bellyful West Auckland.

‘We’re really grateful to The Trusts and the people of West Auckland who got behind our application and voted for us.’

To find out more about Bellyful West Auckland or to apply as a volunteer go to the website.

Do you know a community organisation that needs funding for a West Auckland project? We can help pay for it. Applications open on the 19th of August 2019 and can be made via the Million Dollar Mission website.

Learn more about how The Trusts give back to West Auckland below.

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