Brigette Mouat has not eaten in four years.

When the Mount Maunganui mum suffered a medical injury and had to be tube fed, her love of creating and sharing food did not change.

"I still loved food but my stomach didn't," she said.

Her passion for food and helping those in need was how her charity Arms of Angels was created.


Mouat was living on the Kapiti Coast when she suffered the injury but every week she cooked up her favourite meals and shared them with families at a local kohanga reo centre.

After a few months, a woman asked Mouat for one of her recipes.

"I went a step further and brought her all the food to make the recipe too," she said.

That was where the concept for the charity came from.

Every Wednesday night a group of volunteers delivered food bags which included a recipe and ingredients to families in need around Tauranga.

The initiative worked through a nomination system; anyone could donate money on the Arms of Angels website and then nominate a family who was deserving of a meal for the week.

Mouat said the idea was about keeping families "independent" and giving them the tools to make a meal for themselves.

"It's not about being poor, it's about having one night a week where the family doesn't have to worry and stress about what they are going to put on the table."

Mouat said the food parcels were always basic and nutritious and all included meat because she knew a lot of families could not afford to buy meat regularly.

She said it was also important her 9-year-old son Laytin was involved in helping with the charity.

"He loves getting stuck in and helping out with absolutely anything, he's been consciously raised to help others."

Mouat had worked in the beauty industry for most of her life and said she considered herself a people person.

"It gives me joy and pleasure helping people."

Lenore Duffy is a new volunteer with the Arms of Angels charity after moving to Tauranga in April.

The concept was what drew the retired medical practitioner to the charity and she has been delivering food parcels for the past two months.

Duffy said Brigette did an "amazing job" organising the food parcels each week despite not being very well.

"She's a lovely, lovely lady."

Arms of Angels

-Has been running in Tauranga for the past 2 years
-More than 1000 food bags had been distributed to families in need
-Eight volunteers help with buying and delivering the food parcels
-Christmas hampers were now being created for the festive season
-To donate or nominate a family visit
-To volunteer visit the Arms of Angels Facebook page or call Brigette on 0272270180