Local food banks have grown enormously during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many services are run at council-supported locations are working hard to meet increased demand during difficult times.
When speaking to locals, community groups found that often people's priority is securing a roof over their heads. Securing food comes second, with many people opting for cheap foods like instant noodles, or going without entirely.
Facing that problem, Oranga Community Centre Foodbank ramped up its efforts to provide food security for the community in a time of need.
“We have found that there is huge capacity within our community networks to help provide for our people," the team at Oranga explained.
"We have been blessed with generous donors of both food and time, which has made this whole service possible”
In response to the rising food security needs, Kai Collective Project was formed from local groups and grassroots leaders; Aspargove, Faith Family Connect, Rākau Tautoko and Beat Street, Synergy Trust.
“Having a grassroots and community-led approach has been key to being able to support so many parts of our community, including elderly people who have had to self-isolate," explains Philippa Holmes, founder of Aspargove who has led the formation of the Panama Storehouse.
"It has been a huge endeavour, and the work isn’t over, as we continue to work through the effects of COVID-19 and address food security needs.”
Ruapõtaka Marae KaiAwhi is another larger scale community-based providers dealing with increased need within their community.
Prior to COVID-19 KaiAwhi was producing 20-30 kai packages a day. Now that number is well over 100 and is showing no signs of decreasing, leading the Marae to consider a much longer-term vision for the project at this scale.
“The teams delivering these services in our communities really are COVID-19 heroes,” says Chris Makoare, Chair of Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board which supports the community centres running these local campaigns.