6000 Bel­ly­ful meals ... and count­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Ana Pate­le­sio will do her damnedest to hide her spe­cial iced buns from her eight chil­dren, but it may be a lost cause.

Last week, the Can­nons Creek mum took a de­liv­ery from vol­un­teers at Bel­ly­ful Porirua, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that makes pre­cooked meals for new mums to help re­lieve some pres­sure in what is of­ten a stress­ful time.

It has re­cently hit the 6000 meal mark and is still go­ing strong

Pate­le­sio has a six-week-old daugh­ter, Meno­rah, and said the three fam­ily-sized meals of lasagne, soup, mac­a­roni and cheese, as well as the pack of iced buns, came at the per­fect time.

‘‘I’m so tired and to have this food makes every­thing so re­lax­ing for me,’’ she said. ‘‘It means I can stay in bed longer – the meals are so easy to fix and my fam­ily re­ally en­joys them.

‘‘We’re so grate­ful. Some­times I hide them some­where, put them in to heat and my kids say ‘Mum, I love your cook­ing’.’’

Bel­ly­ful be­gan in Porirua in 2011. It was the third to kick off in New Zealand, and first out­side Auck­land. Today there are 18 op­er­at­ing around the coun­try.

It was not a poverty-driven or­gan­i­sa­tion, Bel­ly­ful Porirua co­or­di­na­tor Re­becca Mo­ra­han said.

‘‘We de­liver to rich fam­i­lies and poor fam­i­lies, but of­ten it’s for fam­i­lies who have been strug­gling with ill­ness or don’t have a close sup­port net­work,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s very re­ward­ing to be do­ing it and it’s fan­tas­tic we’re still go­ing strong.’’

Re­fer­rals are made through the Bel­ly­ful web­site or some­times through Plun­ket or mid­wives.

Once a month, 25 vol­un­teers from the Porirua basin get to­gether at Sarah Sear­ancke Cater­ing in Lin­den and get cook­ing, mak­ing about 130 packs like the one de­liv­ered to the Pate­le­sio fam­ily.

Fig­ures show Bel­ly­ful Porirua con­tin­ues to get more ef­fi­cient – 1025 meals were made in 2012, but that rose to an im­pres­sive 1425 in 2015.

About 30 packs are given to fam­i­lies from Tawa to Pukerua Bay each month.

The food is cov­ered by do­na­tions, fundrais­ing and sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses, in­clud­ing dis­counted meat from The Mad Butcher.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Kim Mur­ray from Bel­ly­ful Porirua, with Ana Pate­le­sio, who re­ceived her third Bel­ly­ful pack­age last week.

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