Tamara Bisseker, Jeraldine Teng, Wendy Thompson, Sam Broughton mayor of Selwyn, Ann Galloway councillor Halswell ward, Karalyn van Deursen and Carol Burdon at the recent Bellyful celebrations

Bellyful celebrates a century

by Ann van Engelen

A decade ago Jacqui Ritchie established Bellyful, a charity, which provides free meals to families who have newborn babies, and young children, who are struggling with illness, or where there is little or no family or social support.

The Selwyn branch is celebrating its fourth birthday, and its services are reaching record numbers of people in need.

“Bellyful has the most amazing, dedicated and hard-working volunteers, who really care about their communities. I have noticed the great community support we receive from referrers, sponsors and supporters,” says Bellyful chief executive, Charlotte Delahunty.

“Bellyful helps promote community connectedness, and more people are getting involved. Our volunteer network has grown to 650 as we have focussed on providing more training and better communication and support. That has enabled Bellyful to grow enormously.”

Jenny was a Bellyful recipient eight years ago when her second child was born almost 12 weeks premature.

“Although life was a blur, looking back one thing that stands out to me are the home-cooked meals delivered by volunteers,” she says.

“I would get home exhausted, but I had dinner and baking waiting for me, which the Bellyful team had prepared. Honestly, it was a god-send.”

The charity is funded by donations, grants, sponsorship and fundraising.

“We hosted 11 simultaneous events on August 10, with the release of the Bellyful story on video. We would love to see more people involved as we grow and support families for the next 10 years. We are very grateful for the valuable support from our partnerships.”

For more information on referring, volunteering or making a donation, either go to bellyful.org.nz or email contact@bellyful.org.nz.