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Cooking for young whānau

Cooking for young whānau

On Saturday 12 November, 10 amazing volunteers from Bellyful Whitianga came together to cook a total of 149 meals for whānau in our community. Bellyful is a nationwide charity with branches across Aotearoa, who support young whānau with babies or young children, in need of support by cooking and delivering meals to them. Families can be referred by health professionals, including midwives and Well Child nurses, by whānau and friends, or they can refer themselves via the Bellyful website. (

They then receive frozen nutritional family-friendly meals like lasagne, bolognese, macaroni and cheese, soup or even a vegan curry, which was recently developed by Bellyful volunteers and nutritionists. These meals aim to please all family members, including the fussy toddler, and take the pressure out of dinner time.

The Bellyful branch in Whitianga was opened in March 2020, by the Branch Coordinators (BCs) Fran Jack and Emily Pavey. Earlier this year Emily stepped down as BC and Kate Cross stepped up to support Fran in the smooth running of the branch. Since the opening Bellyful Whitianga has delivered close to 1,000 meals and collectively, Bellyful New Zealand recently celebrated the delivery of 200,000 meals by their 25 branches nationwide.

Bellyful Whitianga has about 30 volunteers help with the cooking of meals, as well as with delivering the tasty kai, local fundraising, and more. All costs associated with making meals are raised locally, through grants, fundraising activities, and from generous people and businesses in the community. “We so appreciate the support from Anchor Whitianga, who sponsor all our dairy needs, New World Whitianga, who sponsor the majority of our groceries, Mercury Bay Hi-Ab, Whitianga Total Storage, Wild Wood Mini Golf and everyone else who has and continues to give so generously to our cause.”

"Next Saturday is another special day in the Bellyful Whitianga calendar as volunteers will be baking their famous Christmas Mince Pies again, ready to sell to the community. “Due to popular demand, this year we’re aiming to make 2,000, yes, that’s right- two thousand Mince Pies!” Head to the Bellyful Whitianga Facebook to keep updated – and to find out how you can buy your Christmas Mince Pies in the coming weeks!


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