Spreading a message of love

Cherished . . . Loved 4 Life board member Cathy Taylor giving welcome gifts to Oamaru’s first Loved 4 Life baby Darcy Elizabeth Nockels and her mother Meghan.

A Tauranga woman is hoping North Otago residents will jump on board and join her efforts to ensure every new baby is loved.

Cathy Taylor was in Oamaru last week, visiting her great-niece’s new baby and using the opportunity to spread the word about a non-profit organisation of which she is a national board member.

Loved 4 Life was founded in 2007, following the murder of Kahui twins Chris and Cru in Auckland, in order to connect with and support young families.

‘‘We just sort of thought, how can this sort of thing happen in a neighbourhood and nobody is aware that there is a need.

‘‘And we feel that there’s so many young ones now who are not living in the same towns as their parents or grandparents, and they have no-one,’’ Mrs Taylor said.

The group ensures that each baby born in their area is visited and given a small bassinet quilt, a woollen knitted garment and sometimes a home-cooked meal.

The quilts all had the word ‘‘Loved’’ on them, and an attached ribbon, which was tied for the baby.

‘‘Loved 4 Life started through a church, but most of the chapters are not churches now, they’re just community.

‘‘And the churches tied a knot in the ribbon and said a prayer for the baby, but most of us just tie a knot and think good thoughts, and hope the baby will be loved for life,’’ she said.

The quilts and knitted goods were made by volunteers, who were mostly retired.

There were 14 chapters throughout the North Island, and with a funding boost of more than $4000 from the Tindall Foundation for the next two years, Mrs Taylor was hoping South Island communities would be keen to join in.

The hardest part was finding leaders for the chapters, but each chapter was given a charter to outline how the group should operate.

‘‘In March/April next year, a couple of us on the board are going to do a road trip to the South Island.

‘‘Hopefully, by then we’ll have a group of people in areas, and we’ll go and present it to them.’’

New mothers who received the packs for their babies were ‘‘absolutely blown away’’, she said.

‘‘I’ve got some of the testimonials I’ve been given from mums, when I’ve had to apply for funds, and the incredible thing is at the moment I have got three mums that I went to visit, and I met the mum of one and a grandmother of one and was told about another grandmother, and this mum and the two grandmothers have just joined our group and are knitting for us, so that was a real thrill, really.’’

Those interested in being part of a local chapter of Loved 4 Life can contact Cathy Taylor at [email protected]