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Bake-athon to Fill Bellies

On a recent Saturday, 16 amazing ladies came together at the Mercury Bay Area School kitchen to make more than 1,400 Christmas Mince Pies, a popular fundraiser that Bellyful Whitianga is running for the fourth time this year.

Bellyful Whitianga is a branch of the nationwide charity, Bellyful that cooks and delivers meals to whānau with babies and young children, who need support. This year, we cooked over 1,000 meals, which were delivered to more than 70 local whānau who needed a helping hand at dinner time. The deliveries extended from Matarangi to Tairua.

As a volunteer-led charity, Bellyful Whitianga relies on grants, sponsors, and their own fundraising efforts. This year we were very fortunate to receive some funding from the Community Organisation Grants Scheme. But we couldn’t do any of our mahi without the help of our amazing and very generous sponsors, New World Whitianga, Mercury Bay Hi-Ab, Anchor Coromandel, Whitianga Self Storage, Richardsons Real Estate Whitianga and Mercury Bay Area School.

Fundraising is a great way to cover the costs of the monthly Cookathons which see volunteers come together to cook up delicious, nutritious meals which are then frozen ready for delivery.

Since Bellyful Whitianga’s launch in March 2020, we have held two signature, festive fundraisers. Alongside the Christmas Mince Pie sale, we hold a ‘Photos with Santa’ event at Grace O’Malley’s in Whitianga, giving locals the chance to have their photo taken with the Jolly Man himself. Paul Schrader, a talented Pauanui-based photographer, donates his time, to take a professional digital photo which is emailed immediately for only $10. You can choose to purchase some Polaroids to take home at an additional cost. The photos receive amazing feedback every year and make for a beautiful family keepsake. No booking is necessary; just turn up on the Saturday, 16 December, between 12.00pm and 4.00pm.

If you would like to support this good, local cause by buying a delicious Christmas treat too, you can buy the world-famous-in-Whitianga Christmas Mince Pies from the Harcourts offices in Whitianga and Cooks Beach, $10 for 6. Buy a few boxes and pop some in the freezer to prepare for the holidays.

All proceeds raised stay in the community. If you’d like to contact Bellyful, please do so via our Facebook page (Bellyful Whitianga) or by email:

Bellyful Whitianga would like to thank the Mercury Bay community, particularly their sponsors, for their ongoing support! We wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2024!

Fran Jack, is Branch Coordinator

of Bellyful Whitianga.