Bellyful Whānau Stories

Paying It Forward

Meet Claire – one of Bellyful Whitianga‘s first recipients and now, a proud volunteer!

Her son Harvey was born three days before lockdown started, a scary time for everyone, and especially new mums and families. Claire referred herself for support from Bellyful.

“The meals took a huge amount of pressure off me as a mum, and as a partner. I love to cook and bake and am really passionate about this. So the nights I had no energy or simply had my hands full, the meals were a godsend.”

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In the Business of Giving

Former Bellyful recipients Fiona and Ken Harris have been able to express their gratitude by paying it forward, donating a portion of the monthly sales from their business the Source Bulk Foods Taupō, to Bellyful Taupō.

“It’s really nice to feel that our business can be part of a bigger purpose. Organisations like Bellyful help strengthen our bonds as a community, giving us a lifeline on those really tough days. They are doing such an awesome job” says Fiona.

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Easing the Stress

Of all the things Daniel and his partner Beatriz planned for when expecting their baby, their beautiful son Marco being born at just 26 weeks and five days gestation was the last thing they imagined.

Little Marco spent the first 97 days of his life in hospital. “It was pretty stressful,” Daniel recalls, and adds it was really hard to process what was happening.

Bellyful was able to help ease the stress by ensuring the new parents had meals to come home to.

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A Unique Experience

Laura’s family in the UK were due to fly out to support her with the birth of her twins in May, but COVID-19 threw a spanner into that plan. With New Zealand’s border essentially closed under Alert Level 4, her family members cancelled their travel.

Instead of being surrounded with broader family support Laura gave birth to her twins during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and was quickly back at home with all four children.

This was when Bellyful stepped in.
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A Weight off the Shoulders

Being a working parent can be a real juggle. Getting the kids ready for school, arriving at work on-time, making your way through that growing laundry pile after you’ve rustled up a half-way decent evening meal for the whānau. Things are pretty hectic at the best of times and it doesn’t take much for the balance to tip.
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Gift of Generosity

During Kylie’s time of need she discovered how much of a difference the work of volunteers and charity organisations can make to your life. Kylie was a grateful recipient of home-cooked meals from Bellyful and was one of the first recipients of our West Auckland branch in 2011. She now volunteers herself as a way of giving back to the community.
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Thrown a Lifeline

When mum-of-three Kerry found herself in a new city with no local support, life was challenging. Throw into the mix a unique illness leaving her on crutches for three months, and it became a gruelling period of time. That’s when Bellyful stepped in and became the lifeline that she needed.
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Early Arrival

Jenny was one of the earliest recipients of meals from Bellyful Karori 7 years ago – she shares her experience of how Bellyful helped her when her baby boy was born prematurely.
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A helping hand for yourself and others

Having kids adds a different dimension to an already busy and active lifestyle. When Michelle Russell had her daughters, she found out exactly what that meant. Thankfully Bellyful were able to help her with dinner plans and give Michelle an opportunity to help out friends who were in the same situation.
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Full up and giving back

Maurethe Little sought Bellyful’s help twice when struggling with her two young sons and chronic ill health. Two years later she’s blooming, and is putting her own time and effort back into the organisation that supported her.
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Giving with Open Hands

Harmony was absolutely blown away by the support she received from Bellyful Tauranga as a new mum. “I had just returned home from hospital with my brand new baby girl and was feeling a little overwhelmed. There was so much to learn, to do, and I didn’t know how I would get back into the daily routine of cooking the meals while caring for my daughter.”
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A Small Good Thing

Pregnancy isn’t always a walk in the park; in fact, it can feel more like a slog through a warm jungle. We chatted to Kimberly about the challenges she faced during the nine months before her daughter arrived and how Bellyful helped take some weight when she and her partner needed it the most.
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Bellyful a Balm in Colicky Chaos

When baby Holly arrived in February this year to join her two-year-old “tornado” of a brother, Daniel, Annette found her usually organised and well-planned life seriously challenged.
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Bellyful Referrer Stories

A Perfect Match

Linda, a Wellington region Plunket Nurse, has been referring to Bellyful for 5 years – she shares why in her experience, Bellyful and Plunket are a perfect match.
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Helping Families Through The Toughest Times

We sat down with Annie who is a family support worker for Heart Kids to learn about how she works with Bellyful and what that means for her clients. Annie deals with families going through one of the toughest times of their lives.
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Bellyful Volunteer Stories

Young at (Bellyful’s) Heart

When it comes to volunteering, enthusiasm is a key attribute. It is something that can be found at any age, and it is generously found in the wide-ranging spectrum of ages of the volunteers at Bellyful Christchurch. The youngest volunteer is 30 and the eldest is 81. In fact, Bellyful Christchurch boasts two wonderful octogenarians.
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Meet our Volunteers 

Bellyful has hundreds of volunteers cooking and delivering meals and fundraising in 24 communities around New Zealand – from Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast down to Invercargill. We are highlighting some of these wonderful volunteers and the work they do, as they explain in their own words why they give their time to Bellyful.
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Student Scholarship Year Benefits Bellyful

For her scholarship exam in food technology, year 13 Carmel College student Courtney Adolphe was determined to do something to benefit families. The families Bellyful supports were just what she had in mind.
Courtney Adolphe knows first-hand what a family in need requires – and it’s certainly not dinner-time struggles.
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Answering a Need

When Kelly saw a need in her local community and a means to help, she jumped at the chance. Late November, she opened the doors of Bellyful’s 19th branch on Hibiscus Coast, to provide the type of support that meant so much to her when she first became a parent herself.
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Full Circle for Bellyful- at the Heart of Bellyful

“My second child came out screaming and didn’t stop,” says Fiona White of Bellyful, Napier. This led to both mother and baby being in tears at times but, “a friend referred me to receive some meals from Bellyful and I was extremely grateful”.
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Getting Involved- at the Heart of Bellyful

Hannah raised awareness of Bellyful when she shared this story with her colleagues and it was published on her work intranet – leading to more families being referrred to Bellyful.

Most of us know that a newborn baby can mean sleepless nights, piles of washing and no time for proper meals. When Hannah had her first child, Logan, five years ago, she unexpectedly received cooked meals from a friend courtesy of Bellyful.
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