New families enjoy free meals made with love

“Incredibly helpful and thoughtful.” That’s how new mother Gemma Bainbridge describes the gift of free meals given to her and her husband Devon on the day they left the Helensville Birthing Centre with their newborn son, Jack.
Because the Bainbridges, who live in Waitakere, had Jack at the Birthing Centre they’re eligible for the free meals which are also available to all local South Kaipara families who have a baby.
The meals are part of the Helensville District Health Trust’s new initiative, Te Kete Whangai o Kaipara.
Dozens of portions of lasagna, macaroni and cheese and vegetable soup were made in early December by a team of volunteers led by the Health Trust’s kitchen team at its community hub, Te Whare Oranga o Parakai.
The local community donated over $2000 through a Givealittle campaign to get the first cookathon underway.
Proud new father Devon Bainbridge said the meals are a great gesture as it’s one less thing they need to worry about: “We’ve been so focused on the birth we haven’t given much thought to what happens when we get home, so the meals are a big relief.”
Health Trust Manager Nicola Keen-Biggelaar says the feedback from new parents at the Birthing Centre has been really encouraging and the Trust is looking forward to expanding the free meal service in the coming year to include families in crisis, the unwell and the elderly.
“I must say a huge thanks to everyone who donated and all our volunteers who helped us get these first meals made and delivered,” says Nicola Keen-Biggelaar. “We’re really excited about the next stage of the project and seeing even more people receive the benefits of these wholesome, healthy meals.”
The Health Trust is looking to secure ongoing funding for the meals through grants and sponsorship and invites anyone who would like to contribute to donate through the Givealittle website:
There’s also one other item the Health Trust is hoping to secure - a vertical freezer for storing the meals at the Birthing Centre. Anyone who may have one to donate is asked to contact Nicola Keen-Biggelaar on or call 09 420 7571.

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