They may not be loved in Tauranga Central and Welcome Bay yet, but one chapter organiser surmises it’s just that they’re not known about.
The Loved 4 Life chapters in Tauranga Central and Welcome Bay have recently received only a few referrals – so both want to remind their communities that they are always there to help.
Loved 4 Life is a nationwide not-for-profit organisation that welcomes new babies with gifted parcels including quilts, knitted goods and burping cloths plus a listening ear for mothers.
“We’re here for our community, to celebrate and welcome new babies,” says Welcome Bay Chapter organiser Ngaire Van Zweeden.
“[But] We don’t get a lot of referrals,” says Ngaire.
“I think it’s just a matter of publicity, really, getting it out there.
"I think it’s just been slow...a lot of it’s probably word of mouth, and that takes a little bit of time to build up momentum.”
Hence this article, to let the Tauranga Central and Welcome Bay communities know about Loved 4 Life – and how to refer a new mother to the service.
“There’s no strings attached, it’s just an expression of love and care for our community,” says Ngaire.
“If mums are wanting it, we’re here and available to deliver them a quilt and a gift, and provide any support if needed,” says Ngaire.
“We provide as much support as possible,” says Ngaire.
“If mums have needed a little bit of help with say, baby clothing, we’ve been able to drop around baby clothing.
"We will provide a meal if they would like a meal, just to help them out in the early days of having a new baby.”
Ngaire says the most important thing they offer to mothers is friendship.
“Just getting alongside mums. Someone to stand beside them. It is a little bit tough at the start.”
Tauranga Central Chapter organiser Sherry Bennett says the organisation is just a means of support for families with newborns – and, in particular, families who don’t have grandparents or family or whanau close by.
“We’ve bumped into a few families like that who’ve been transferred with roles, business etc into the Bay of Plenty and they might be from another country or from within New Zealand.
"And they don’t have that support.
“We introduce ourselves to them and give them a gift for the babies and suggest that if they need any help in any way, we could,” says Sherry.
“Perhaps put them in touch with some other agencies, and we have provided meals for them.
"Just communication and contact really and support for them.
“We talk about things like Plunket, and things that generally a new mum would be aware of.
"We chat about those things in case they don’t know.
Father Malachi Fidow with twin baby girl Manaia Kawiti-Fidow, and mother Natasha Kawiti with twin baby boy Manaia Kawiti-Fidow are Loved 4 Life recipients. Photo: John Borren.
“We would like to think that we can join up at some stage and have a coffee morning or something like that.
"With the mums and the babies.
"This is a non-profit and inter-denominational organisation.
"All families are welcome.”
Sherry says the Tauranga Central chapter started a year ago.
“We’re slowly introducing ourselves to the community...This involves not only the new mums and babies, but the older generation because they make quilts and knit things for the babies,” says Sherry.
To get in contact or make a referral call the Welcome Bay Chapter, contact Ngaire Van Zweeden on 027 486 9341 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. For the Tauranga Central Chapter, call Sherry Bennett on 021 188 3536 or email: