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.
She was grateful and thought “when I’m ready I’ll get involved”. Six months later she became a volunteer driver with the Porirua branch, delivering home cooked frozen meals to families with newborns or families with young children, where there is a serious illness in the family – Bellyful’s main criteria is that simple.
“It’s rewarding to know I’m making a difference. I know how hard it can be having a newborn that’s not sleeping or has colic. I like that I’m helping people when they need it most. Food helps.”
Five years on and Hannah has had another baby, Carys, and is now one of two Recipient Co-ordinators, responsible for allocating referrals to the delivery team. Hannah still does a few deliveries and her family are fully involved – Logan knows all about delivering meals to families with babies. And Carys spent her first few months making the deliveries with Hannah.
The monthly Cookathon is a chance for the team to get together, share stories and cook and freeze the food for the next month. Each Branch prepares the same meals – Bolognese sauce, beef lasagne, macaroni cheese, and tomato and red lentil soup. The Porirua branch usually prepares 140 meals a month – that’s 20kg of mince and about 20 litres of milk for the cheese sauce!
“After five years I still really enjoy giving back to my community and getting to know my community. This work has led me to do other things. I’ve never run in my life before let alone five kms, but I recently ran for the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA) “Pound the Pathway for PADA” fundraiser. My time was 31 mins and I raised over $1,000 – over $7,000 was raised in total.”
Hannah is now back at work at Ministry of Social Development, Carys is 14 months old and Logan recently started school.