Little Garden fans who purchased a Starflower at New World have helped raise $150,000 for the Starship Foundation. New World’s Little Garden campaign ended on October 15 and Foodstuffs NZ’s Brand & Sponsorship Manager Jen Mariu said it was a great success.
“We’re very pleased to say that customers who chose to donate $1 in return for the Little Garden Starflower (Borage) seedling have helped us to raise $150,000 for the Starship Foundation. This funding will make a real difference to families from across the country who use the services provided by New Zealand’s national children’s hospital," said Mariu.
“Last year we raised more than $50,000 for Starship through Little Garden so we’re excited to have tripled our donation this year.”
New World is a five-star partner of the Starship Foundation. One of the projects that New World supports through this sponsorship is Starship’s National Feeding Clinic.
It was launched as a pilot programme in May 2016 and is now in its second year. It helps children who have severe allergies, food aversions or medical complications that affect their ability to eat to learn to love food.
The Feeding Clinic brings together an expert team of psychologists, nutritionists, and speech and language therapists who work together to assess children with feeding difficulties.
In 2015, New World helped fund the Tube Weaning pilot programme at Starship, which was designed to help children who had been tube-fed to learn to eat and enjoy food on their own. Some of these children are now benefitting from the Feeding Clinic programme.
Occasionally, children develop a severe aversion to eating solid food, despite never having been tube-fed.
One such child is 3-year-old Luca, who has lived on a supplement for most of his life.
“He didn’t start on solid food at six months as he should have,” his mother Annie said. “I knew something was wrong and did my own research – that was how I found the team at the Starship Feeding Clinic.”
Luca was diagnosed with ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.
“Sometimes ARFID can come about because of a trauma – for example, if a child has been tube fed. In Luca’s case, it could be because he had tonsillitis twice in his first six months, and was given oral antibiotics. For a sensitive child, it was very traumatic. He had a lot of pain in swallowing, and I think he has related that to food and this coupled with a sensory processing disorder, it all spiralled from there,” said Annie.
“I thought there were only two or three other children in New Zealand with ARFID, but I started a Facebook group for parents and there are more than 100 members now.
“The programme at Starship is so amazing. There are so few places that are doing this, or understand what ARFID is. The people that run the programme are so understanding and so kind. It really affirmed that we’d done the right thing,” said Annie.
“After our third session at the clinic Luca’s fear and anxiety reduced and he began to react more positively when presented with food”Luca has a long way to go yet, but his parents are confident he’s on the right track.
“The next step is, we go home and put the skills we’ve learned in therapy into practice. We’ll be back to do another fairly intensive week here, in a couple of months’ time.”
Brad Clark, Starship Foundation Chief Executive thanked New World and its customers for their generous contribution to Starship: “We love the way this campaign engages and inspires children and we are truly grateful for the financial contribution that enables us to continue providing this important Starship service for young patients like Luca and so many families across New Zealand” he said.