Empathy and Understanding – At the Heart of Bellyful

“When a child is sick, the whole family gets disrupted,” says Therese O’Sullivan of Bellyful Karori. “When my youngest was in and out of hospital we had two other pre-school children at home.”
Wanting to help families in similar situations led Therese to volunteering for Bellyful.

 

“That was 20 years ago,” says Therese. “But I was lucky to have a lot of support from friends and family and I’ve never forgotten how much it meant to me to come home to food in the freezer.”

Always, in the back of her mind, was that if anything came up where she could help others in a similar situation, she would. When she heard of Bellyful she thought it was ideal. From the first days of Bellyful in Karori Therese has been volunteering with cooking, deliveries and fundraising.

Therese took up a career as a real estate agent to work around the needs of her young family. Now, with the flexible work schedule, she is able to work around helping Bellyful during the week.
“Life would not have worked around a 9 to 5 job. I needed flexibility because I was at the hospital so much.”

Recently she came across a mother-to-be through work. As well as doing her job helping the family find somewhere to live, Therese let them know about Bellyful.
“I wanted them to know that there is someone around to help them,” she says.

When asked about the best things about being with Bellyful Therese replies, “It’s a great group in Karori, with a cross section of people of all ages. Also, of course, knowing that a new mother will have some meals provided so they don’t have to think about it.”

Therese adds, “Some people don’t have the support that I did and some people won’t realise that a family could do with some help. Really it’s quite simple – you need something to eat.”

With the children older now and her daughter doing much better, things are a bit different. There is more time to catch up with friends and travel with her husband as well as volunteer. Therese is a keen fundraiser for a number of organisations. She jokingly boasts, “I’m very good at selling raffle tickets! At the moment it’s mostly work, Bellyful, fundraising…!”

Bellyful and the Karori community really benefit from having Therese actively working for them. Her empathy and understanding of the needs of families, particularly those with sick children, has proved invaluable to her community.

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