There was both, laughter and tears as Bellyful recently celebrated its 10th anniversary at the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. With pink being the colour of the afternoon tea, there was a lot of love and aroha in the roomful of volunteers and guests.
The nourishing afternoon kicked off with Maree Chisnell, founding branch coordinator, reflecting on the journey that changed the inner landscape of east Auckland. She acknowledged the community of compassionate volunteers that came together to start Bellyful East Auckland.
Regardless of being rich or poor, Bellyful delivers free meals to families with babies and young children that don’t have any other support.
There was not a single dry eye in the room as a young, mother-of-three who has been a recipient of Bellyful meals, narrated her heartfelt story of hardship as she tried to cope with post-natal depression. Being a mum to newborn twins whose lives depended on her, she struggled hard to get out of the dark hole she found herself in.
Reiterating how grateful she was for all the support and warm meals she shared with her family, she said it nourished her body and enabled her to spend precious time with her five-year-old son who was feeling replaced by the twins. Ever so grateful, she now gives back by volunteering at Bellyful and helping other mothers on a similar journey.
Branch coordinator Andrea Martin, spoke about delivering around 12000 meals to the local community, while Fiona Purchas CEO Bellyful NZ, elaborated on providing practical support and carrying on the vision of Bellyful’s founder Jackie Richie.
Also standing quietly in the sidelines was Pippa Wetzell, television personality and spokesperson for Bellyful for over 12 years.
Pippa said she’d always come across “outstanding Bellyful volunteers that she would love to have a drink or hang out with. There’s something about this organisation that attracts the most amazing people.”