COVID-19: The Trusts Donation To West Auckland Food Charities

A new $200,000 donation from the Trusts, evenly split between two charities, has been made to help them cope with the additional demand for food from West Aucklanders in need.

Food charities and support services already under pressure during COVID-19 are bracing for an expected surge in demand with Government wage subsidies due to end in the coming weeks.

Vision West Community Trust distributes food parcels to hundreds of families each week and has received $100,000 from The Trusts. It has seen a 185% increase in requests for food parcels. The number of families it helps each week has grown from 350 per week to more than 1,000 since the start of lockdown.

Brook Turner, head of community service development at VisionWest Community Trust expects this number to grow by an additional 700 families in the West Auckland region alone – once the Government wage subsidy finishes in June.

“The first wave exposed the level of food insecurity in New Zealand, but this second wave of need will be at the end of the wage subsidy and we’re already seeing cracks in the surface with redundancies.

“There is a perfect storm coming and it will be a once in a generation kind of moment. We’ve got to walk with people, give them employment opportunities, set up community enterprises. We will need public, private and non-profit partnerships that help build a new economy to have a co-ordinated food system and a significant response to those in poverty.”

“Our whole approach to kai is that it is a great connector and food is a basic human right like shelter. Without those things your whole world is in disarray.

“Donations from suppliers and charitable organisations such as the $100,000 grant from The Trusts will go some way to ensuring those that need help will continue to get it”, says Turner.

Veronica Shale is the executive director of charity Fair Food, which collects and distributes surplus food from retailers and manufacturers and was the other recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Trusts. She agrees that a holistic approach is the best way to support the growing number of people who will continue to need support to feed their families.

Veronica says as more hospitality businesses struggle there is a flow-on effect for suppliers and food wastage and scarcity are the results.

“The issue is how do we divert this food that’s not needed anymore away from the landfill and back into the supply chain so organisations like us can help get it to those who need it.”

Shale says before the outbreak of COVID-19 most of the surplus food picked up from her organisation was from supermarkets.

“Now it’s definitely more business to business, so we’re picking up from growers, producers and manufacturers.”

Shale says they’re grateful for the support of The Trusts, and that businesses and the community need to work together efficiently to redistribute surplus food.

Matt Williams, acting CEO of The Trusts says they are working with a range of community organisations who have had their usual source of funding disrupted during the lockdown.

“There is a growing need from charities who have been cut off from their normal supply of resources which is impacting on their ability to support members of our community.

“We want to encourage other corporates who are in a position to help to reach out to these groups and find a way to help them, whether through financial support or even lending warehouse space and logistical support,” he says.