Bellyful NZ Team

Wendy Thompson

General Manager

Wendy is Bellyful’s incredibly hard-working General Manager. Wendy has previously been the Bellyful Christchurch Branch Co-ordinator and Bellyful NZ’s Volunteer and Operations Manager.

Wendy describes the early days with her twins (now adults): “My twins were born in London 13 weeks premature. I had no immediate family in the UK and although our friends did what they could to help, most of them were working full time and could only provide limited support. For the first few months, we lived on a combination of take-aways, hospital food and Marks & Spencer’s ready meals. This was generally expensive and not nutritious!! When I saw a newspaper article about Bellyful all I could think was I wish it had existed all those years ago in London. So I went along to the first meeting.

“Since then I have loved working with such a positive and organised charity. Cookathons are fun and delivering meals to a stressed family is incredibly satisfying.”

Wendy lives in Christchurch with her husband, and three grown-up children – some of the time. Wendy trained as a pharmacist in New Zealand and worked both here and in England in a variety of hospital and retail positions. In her spare time, Wendy enjoys ice skating, mountain biking, running, skiing, boating and overseas adventures with her husband.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0508 BELLYFUL (0508 2355938)

Aruna Hill

Finance Officer

Aruna joined Bellyful in January 2020 with over 20 years’ experience working in the finance field.

Graduating from Victoria University Wellington with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, Aruna has worked in a variety of organisations, both corporate and government, in London and New Zealand.

Aruna and her husband Craig have two boys aged nine and 13. She has been actively involved in the boys’ school helping with Enviro projects, reading and being on the PTA. She has also held the position of Treasurer for the Life Education – North Wellington Branch from 2018 to 2019 and currently volunteers as a school board trustee.

Having been lucky enough to have had tremendous family support when the boys were little, Aruna is acutely aware just how invaluable that support can be and is looking forward to helping Bellyful NZ to support as many families as possible to help them through challenging times.

Email: [email protected]

Amanda Frei

Administration

Amanda is based in Christchurch and joined the Bellyful team at the beginning of 2021.

Amanda has a Bachelor of Business Management with a double major in Marketing and Management. Amanda also has a Certificate in Cookery from Ara and a Professional Certificate in Gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. Amanda’s background is in the FMCG and hospitality industries and includes time working as a chef and brand managing a range of well-known Australian and New Zealand household brands.

With an eye for detail, Amanda is passionate about organising and structuring spaces and workflows. Her other passion is food, she regularly cooks for family and friends and is known in her neighbourhood for always having some cake to share. In her spare time, Amanda also enjoys cycling, reading and gardening.

Amanda is married with two young daughters who have both recently started school. Amanda and her family were grateful recipients of Bellyful meals after the birth of their second daughter and understands first-hand how Bellyful support can help families in a time of need.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 0508 BELLYFUL (0508 2355938)

Jacqui Stanford

Communications Advisor

Jacqui joined the Bellyful team as its Communications Advisor in 2019 after more than 15 years in journalism, chiefly as a reporter and sub-editor with Newstalk ZB.

In 2017, she moved into charity communications to help a friend, quickly fell in love with the work, and has since worked with Carers NZ and Continence NZ in communications roles.

Jacqui has developed expertise in writing, editing, managing social media and helping run campaigns, and is excited to bring these skills to Bellyful as it continues its incredible growth. Being a mum of two young children she wholeheartedly appreciates how important Bellyful’s work is in giving tired parents a helping hand and full tummies, especially in those exhausting early days.

Jacqui lives in a century-old (slowly being lovingly renovated) villa in Helensville, in Auckland’s northwest with her wife, their two small children, pampered Great Dane and a pair of long-suffering cats. When she gets a rare quiet patch, you’ll find her curled up with a novel and dreaming of writing one of her own one day.

Email: [email protected]

Gwen Green

Fundraising Advisor

Gwen Green, has been fundraising for as long as she can remember, from school fetes to fundraising for the local church roof, Gwen has always at the centre of something fundraising related. In her early 20s, Gwen decided to raise funds for a disability charity that had supported her nephew who has Cerebral Palsy; the challenge was to raise $5000 and hike 100 km across the Sinai Desert in Egypt. Waking up one morning in the desert, slightly sunburnt, unwashed for days, and sand in all the wrong places, Gwen decided fundraising was the life for her!

For getting on 25 years, Gwen has worked as a professional fundraiser in organisations of all shapes and sizes. However, her passion is working with smaller organisations, helping them to create step change by growing their fundraising, whilst also making it sustainable.  Gwen set up as a fundraising consultant in 2019 so that she could follow this passion and has worked with several organisations both within New Zealand and overseas. 

Gwen was drawn to Bellyful both for the opportunity to help us grow, but also having previously worked for the NSPCC, a child protection charity in the UK, she strongly resonates with our mission, recognising the impact filling empty stomachs can have on children and their families during otherwise stressful times.

Email: [email protected]

Leigh Cooke

Contract Accountant

Leigh joined Bellyful in 2019 with over 20 years experience as a Chartered Accountant.

Graduating from Victoria University Wellington with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration, Leigh went on to join ANZ Bank where she worked across a number of NZ business units, as well as posts in ANZ’s London and Melbourne offices, which saw her spending a total of 7 years living overseas. As well as banking, Leigh’s career has included accounting roles in health, media, hospitality and education as well as volunteering as a school board trustee. She finds fulfilment in working with not-for-profit organisations and is excited to be part of the Bellyful team.

Leigh’s two children, now teenagers, were both born in Australia and with no immediate family nearby she was grateful to volunteers who brought meals and gave support when it was needed. Leigh now lives in Lower Hutt with her children and husband.

Email: [email protected]

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