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.
The families in the area that Linda covers are very diverse, from professional families to refugees to new migrants to small and big families, to those with and without support networks. What is common to them all is the sleeplessness and exhaustion that can follow having a new born in the family.
When Linda refers clients to Bellyful she knows that regardless of the particular circumstances of the client, the response to being provided with free meals from the Bellyful volunteer network is the same.
‘People get tearful when Bellyful services are offered, they can’t believe there are people out there who care, who take the time to prepare food and deliver it. And I know that when the meals are dropped off the interaction with the volunteer is really positive and gives people a lift, during what can be a trying time’.
The diversity of Linda’s clients includes dietary preferences. Linda is full of praise for the meal options available, which enables Bellyful to meet the needs of her clients, ‘I have been told that the only restriction is if a client gets tired of the meals, and that hasn’t happened yet!’
What is also special about Bellyful is that the contact doesn’t stop once the meals have been delivered. ‘Two to three weeks after the meals have been delivered, I know that the Bellyful coordinator for my area follows up with families with a phone call to check how they are going and whether they need further support. This really helps families feel much more connected to the community, especially those without family or social networks. I know that as a result of interacting with Bellyful some clients have gone on to become volunteers for Bellyful because they want to give back to the organisation that helped them out at a hard time’.
Linda reflects on the impact that Bellyful has for her clients: ‘it seems a simple thing giving three meals but the impact is really big both for individual families and for the community’. Linda’s reflection mirrors the Bellyful philosophy which includes looking after each other within our community, and that it’s more than okay, in fact it’s brave, to reach out for help.
It does indeed sound like a perfect match between Bellyful and Plunket and long may it continue to support our communities.
Words by Rebecca Foley
Photo by James Muir