October 27 2016 | Article written by Anne Whyte.
Brigitte Mouat, founder of the charity Arms of Angels, which feeds families in need. Brigitte is unable to eat and spends between nine and 20 hours. Photo/George Novak
A woman who is unable to eat herself is launching her charity in Tauranga which feeds families in need.
Brigitte Mouat spends between nine and 20 hours a day hooked to a tube which feeds nutrients into her intestine, meaning she has to sleep sitting up. She also vomits every time she eats.
Despite this, Brigitte is on a mission to make sure families in strife are eating by establishing a charity which ensures they would have the ingredients to one decent meal a week.
“I know what hunger feels like. I never feel full, I always feel hungry. “I raised my three children by myself. I know what its like to go without. “I actually do understand.”
Brigitte moved up to her childhood home Tauranga from Kapiti, where she created the charity named Arms of Angels.
She had gone into hospital for a hernia operation where her vagus nerve was accidentally cut. “It stopped my stomach from working. I lost 30kg, I was so sick.
It’s for life, it’ll never go away.”
She says cooking food was her coping mechanism, and she would give much of it to families in Kapiti who needed it.
People started asking her for the recipes, so she created ingredient parcels with instructions on how to create the meals.
“I kept it simple. It’s leaving people independent.” She says the idea “just took off”, but had become expensive for just her to afford.
Arms of Angels targeted families who were in short-term need and not getting any help from other sources. “It’s an anonymous system, people can go online and nominate a family or can sponsor a family.” “It’s one meal a week for six weeks, just for a break so they know it’ll be happening and sitting on the table.”
Brigitte says one of the inspirations of the charity for her was when a young neighbour in financial trouble had taken their own life a few years ago. “This is a gift. “Food is so important, we sit down and share as a family. Its not a privilege that anyone should not go with.”