A Working Kind of Retirement – At the Heart of Bellyful

Reading a magazine article featuring Bellyful Ambassador Pippa Wetzell, sparked Connie Sproule’s interest in the organisation. She got in touch with Bellyful’s founder Jacqui Ritchie and after receiving a lovely message, she immediately wanted to join.

 

“I’d been volunteering for a different organisation but needed a change and Bellyful appealed to me,” says Connie.

Originally from Scotland, the retired mother of two and grandmother of five has lived in New Zealand for many years and has been in Hamilton since 1980.
“Doing the Bellyful deliveries I’m finding places I’ve never been to before,” says Connie. She thinks that the advantage of being retired is that she is able to do deliveries during the day.

She also finds that volunteering for Bellyful gives her the flexibility she needs to work around other activities such as travels in Europe and Asia, and visits with family overseas. “We don’t have grandchildren in Hamilton so we have to travel to visit them.” She feels fortunate in having a young friend/neighbour who has three young boys. As a career mum on her own, her friend is happy to let Connie be their ‘spare Grandma’ and help out whenever the need arises.

Connie takes part in all aspects of Bellyful’s work and she particularly enjoys meeting the new mums and their babies when she does a delivery.
“They send such lovely texts, so polite and grateful,” says Connie. “It’s good to make someone’s life a little easier. I think the best thing you can do for a mum is to make a meal. By dinner time everyone in the family is tired.”

One thing that really impresses Connie is some of the younger volunteers. “I used to think all volunteers were older. It’s so refreshing to find all these lovely young girls giving up their time. They are so efficient and show a lot of initiative. I admire young Kiwi girls.”

She also appreciates the two male volunteers in the group at the moment.
“It’s nice to have some muscle when you’ve got to strain one of the big pans or carry the shopping, or carry the baskets out to the car after the cook. Maybe they help because they’re scared I’ll drop something!” She also notes how stirring the cheese sauce can be, “quite hard on the arm!” That’s no surprise when they make up to 10 litres of cheese sauce and use eight kilos of cheese at each cook.

Hamilton’s Branch Coordinator Collette appreciates Connie’s support.
“Connie has been part of Bellyful Hamilton since the beginning! She is always ready to step up and help at cookathons and fundraisers. She is a regular deliverer and a huge part of our team.”

Connie’s experience, commitment and enthusiasm are much appreciated. With all that she does for Bellyful, and in other parts of her community, it seems odd to call her current status ‘retired’!

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