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Free Meals Help Give Best Start To New Families


Ana Talanoa and Miles Gunter with three-day-old Lucy at Helensville Birthing Centre 

There’s been another sort of delivery happening at the Helensville Birthing Centre over the summer break - free meals for local families as they head home with their newborns.

The meals are part of Te Kete Whngai Kaipara, a new initiative by the Helensville District Health Trust.

Ana Talanoa and Miles Gunter live in Helensville and they were thrilled to learn that they’d be receiving the meals as they left the Birthing Centre with three-day-old Lucy.

With Miles’ family in Wales and Ana’s on the other side of Auckland, they were looking forward to having the first few days at home alone with their new daughter.

“It’s a such a relief knowing that when we go home we don’t have to worry about cooking anything for the next few nights,” said proud new dad Miles.

By the middle of January around 12 families had so far received the free meals made by volunteers.

Waitakere's Gemma and Devon Bainbridge were another couple to benefit from the meals. Although they're not South Kaipara locals, they're eligible because baby Jack was born at Helensville Birthing Centre.

Proud new father Devon said the meals are a great gesture as it’s one less thing they need to worry about: “We’ve been so focussed on the birth we haven’t given much thought to what happens when we get home, so the meals are a big relief.”

The local community donated over $2000 through a Givealittle campaign to get the first cookathon underway in early December.

New mum Gemma Bainbridge called the initiative "incredibly helpful and thoughtful." 

Health Trust Manager Nicola Keen-Biggelaar says, “we have to say a huge thanks to everyone who donated and to all our hardworking volunteers who spent the day cooking and packing portions of lasagne, macaroni and cheese, and vegetable soup.”

Over the next year the service will expand to include meals for the elderly, the unwell and families in crisis.

“We’re really excited about the next stage of the project and seeing even more people receive the benefits of these wholesome, healthy meals,” says Nicola Keen-Biggelaar.

The Health Trust has another request of the local community, for a vertical freezer to store the frozen meals at the Birthing Centre. If you have one you’re able to donate, please contact Nicola Keen-Biggelaar on manager@hdht.co.nz or call 09 420 7571.

Donations to Te Kete Whāngai ō Kaipara can be made at givealittle.co.nz/org/helensville-district-health-trust.

Waitakere's Gemma and Devon Bainbridge with baby Jack at Helensville Birthing Centre. 

The first Te Kete Whāngai ō Kaipara Cookathon held in December 2018 with Helensville District Health Trust staff and volunteers. 

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