Bellyful Selwyn serving up support

by Kent Caddick

Bellyful Selwyn turns two this month and recently marked the occasion by cooking its 1,000th meal for a family in need.

Bellyful is a national not-for-profit organisation which provides meals for families with newborn babies, and families with young children who are struggling with illness.

“Our volunteers deliver free cooked meals to these families,” Selwyn branch co-ordinator Sarah Dewes said.

“There’s no catch or payment involved, we just understand that these periods in life are hard enough as it is, without having to try and worry about getting dinner to the table.” The Selwyn branch was set up in June, 2015 due to the growth in demand for its services which couldn’t be catered for by being part of the Christchurch branch.

Sarah Dewes said with an ever-growing community in Selwyn, their volunteers have been kept very busy cooking, delivering meals and fundraising.

“To date we have 27 active volunteers, have had 10 cookathons and have delivered 1,058 meals to 194 families in the Selwyn region. “We have cooked 272 lasagnes, 361 mac and cheese, 387 spaghetti bolognaise and 49 soups, giving us a grand total of 1,069 meals cooked.

“Having a few meals delivered by a friendly face can be a real sanity-saver. We are not a food bank — our service is appreciated by working parents as much as those at home.”

Bellyful Selwyn not only services Selwyn but also parts of Christchurch including Hornby, Hei Hei, Wigram, Halswell and Tai Tapu.

“The key to our service is that we are here to provide some practical support in the form of cooked meals for those families who wouldn’t have that support otherwise.

“We don’t want to take over from all of the other wonderful forms of support available to families, like support from family, friends, church, Play Centre and other family groups and networks. We only step in where none of those exist.”

Ms Dewes said families can self-refer or if people know someone who could use the service then contact them either by ringing 0508 Bellyful or go to their website bellyful.org.nz.

She said they are also looking for volunteers to help out.

“The 27 volunteers within the Selwyn branch are locals, wanting to help our own community.”

Bellyful Selwyn volunteers received special gift packs to help celebrate the organisations second birthday