Named after the Māori word for a food pantry, pātaka kai are free, open street pantries. Glen Eden is part of a nationwide movement, and the idea is that locals take what they need and share what they can.
As well as spreading community kindness, Glen Eden Pātaka Kai is also tackling food waste. Heather Tanguay, the Glen Eden Pātaka Kai facilitator, explains that a dedicated team of volunteers collects unwanted bread from local shops and bakeries every day. The loaves and buns are then distributed to the pantries and are free for anyone in need.
‘Our amazing team collects and distributes up to 1,000kg of bread a week that otherwise would end up in landfill,’ Heather reports.
She explains that Glen Eden Pātaka Kai doesn’t have any fridges, and that’s why they focus on bread. It’s a staple that quickly fills up hungry whānau. However, they also collect and distribute fresh fruit, vegetables and tinned supplies when available.
Heather says the best thing about Glen Eden Pātaka Kai is that there’s no form-filling involved. Some families may feel embarrassed about approaching a food bank for help. With the pātaka, anyone can take or leave food without being seen by other members of the community.
Glen Eden Pātaka Kai has helped strengthen community spirit. ‘Neighbours helping neighbours has fostered a real feeling of community kindness,’ says Heather.
And the project has also raised awareness of the problem of food wastage. Instead of letting excess lemons or feijoas rot on the ground, locals use street pantries to share with others.
Heather says demand will only increase with the summer school holidays fast approaching. ‘Many children belong to school breakfast or lunch clubs, and that all stops in the holidays,’ she explains.
‘Nowadays, we can fill the pātaka at 3 pm, and by the evening, there's not a crumb left,’ Heather says. The long summer break will be an even more challenging time for many whānau.
Glen Eden Pātaka Kai is on the lookout for more donations to help struggling families over the summer. They are keen to stock up on marmite, peanut butter, jam, and even baked beans, so families have something yummy to go on their bread.
There’s an active Facebook group with over 1,700 members where locals post offers of help and donations. So, check it out if you’d like to get involved or contact Heather direct on 09 818 8809.
The Trusts is a proud supporter of Glen Eden Pātaka Kai. Funding from the Your West Support Fund has been used to stock up the pantries with essentials like rice, pasta, tinned fruit and vegetables.
There are four street pantries in Glen Eden in the following locations:
- 28 Aquarius Avenue
- 46 Seymour Avenue
- 27 Clayburn Street
- 82 Solar Road.