Thursday, December 9

Covid-19 lockdown: pressure mounts to provide enough food to those in need


Community service providers throughout the motu are trying to manage and plan for an increase in demand during the shutdown.

Open food package

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Photo: RNZ Insight / Sarah Robson

They are distributing food parcels, lunches, and advice to those in need as they prepare to face the spread of level four.

In Te-Whanganui-a-Tara, the capital, the discovery of Covid-19 in the city did not stop Compassion Soup Kitchen from helping those in need.

His manager, Gary Sutton, said there had been a big increase in demand during level 4.

“On a typical day, it’s around 100 to 120 meals. During Alert Level 4 closures, we go up from 180 to 200 meals a day because other institutions need the hot meals because they can’t provide them themselves or they can’t pick them up. from your regular suppliers. “

They were giving away lunches to take to passersby over the confinement.

“We try to bring so much warmth and encouragement in the short and very short interaction that we have with each guest, because we find that it is a little difficult. They are isolated at best and a little more isolated for a while. I like it this.”

In Ahuriri Napier, the iwi authority responsible for caring for the hapū and marae, Te Taiwhenua or Te Whanganui ā Orotu, was helping anyone in need by connecting them with services.

Executive Director Taina Eden said they were able to do it right away.

“At the Maori national level, because of our connections and networks on the ground, we can stand up right away, we can build food centers right away, we mobilize, we can unite, we can just do it.”

He said that koroua and kuia had been calling about medical and transportation concerns.

“In fact, we have also had quite a few inquiries regarding the food packages, because unfortunately children eat a lot of food when they stay at home, so there are some families who struggle and need our help at this stage.”

They may set up a food center now that the lockdown has been extended.

In the south, in Ōtepoti Dunedin, the night shelter had to close for a time when restrictions came in.

It has 12 beds and its frequent users have stayed at the size of backpackers.

President Clare Curran said they helped the community by making sure the food didn’t go to waste.

“The overnight shelter is completely dependent on the generosity of the community. We received donations of food, bedding and clothing, etc. and we wanted to make sure that we did not leave food in the shelter that could be used by the communities.”

So they ran to those in need hours before the lockdown began.

“Any food that was left before closing was made available through our community food pantries that are open to the public and [we were] in the hope that the public, the people who don’t have enough, things like eggs and vegetables that sort of thing, can make use of those foods. “

Curran said the shelter was working out its plan to extend the blockade, considering whether it would reopen.


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