The Social Services team at the Christchurch Methodist Mission (CMM) recently sent a request for volunteer support to provide a welcoming and healthy morning tea for parents attending their ParentWorks programme. A group of people from the Christchurch North Methodist Parish answered the call and provided a lovely morning tea.

ParentWorks is a two-stage group programme for parents who have children aged 0-13 years who are in care or where there are acknowledged care and protection concerns. It is the only parenting group programme in NZ specifically for parents with children in care or at risk of being in care. Many of the parents come to the group without having had breakfast and many of them are facing huge personal struggles. The work the parents undertake at ParentWorks is important and can be life-changing for them and their children.

"The morning tea was a great way to show these parents that they are valued and welcome by showing hospitality and warmth," says CMM Social Services Practice Leader Linda Dockrill. "The feedback from the parents when they were told that the morning tea was made for them by a local church was like "Oh wow, they did this just for us?"

"A generous act like this makes the parents feel part of a wider community that cares for them," continues Linda. "The sense of belonging and respect builds their self-worth and self-confidence. There is something special about sharing food. People say they make friends by "breaking bread together" and studies show that it promotes trust and cooperation. And we all know that children learn better when they come to school after having breakfast – the same goes for adults. By starting off the group sessions with a shared morning tea, it not only fills a physical need but also a psychological one. It builds trust and relationships within the group and creates an environment where the parents are open to learn new things."

Providing morning tea is an easy way to support our community and the work of CMM. If needed, CMM can provide plates which you can pick up and use so there is no need to worry about finding plates or getting your own returned to you.

CMM runs ParentWorks and other group programmes for parents & caregivers on a regular basis. If your church or community group would like to support CMM by providing morning tea, please contact Linda on 03 375 0511 or email lindad@mmsi.org.nz.

Picture Caption: Some of the morning tea recently provided by the Christchurch North Methodist Parish.