Finance

The Auckland Food Bank is working day and night to meet demand.

Every day, David Little and his Brown Bataben food bank workers run away. From morning till night, they are busy packing hundreds of parcels to meet unprecedented demand.

Volunteer with a donation box with food on a gray background - Food Bank, Food Bank.

Image: 123rf

Little’s Central Manukau Food Bank is one of many in Auckland facing a food crisis amid an epidemic where vulnerable families have to wait a week for help.

“They’ve been here before, but this lockdown is worse than the previous ones,” Little said.

“It certainly seems like, you know, it’s very difficult for families. The people we deal with are already living – don’t care about pay checks to pay checks – it’s daily,” said Littleley. It’s about. “

“Something like that spreads in the works. People are tired.”

The Pacific community in Auckland is suffering from the current epidemic of the Delta variant of Coved 19. There are hundreds of cases here, as there are many important workers in the country.

More than 1,300 people have been forced to isolate themselves and their jobs and incomes have suddenly stopped. Many are part of large families living in small houses, now deprived of food and other basic necessities.

Since New Zealand fell to Level Four Lockdown in a few hours a fortnight ago, Little said he has seen the need in the community grow throughout the day. Last Friday, he posted an instant Facebook live video. By evening, the post had received more than 200 emails from Brown Bataben.

“Today we are collecting about 400 parcels. It will go out tomorrow and we will do the same again tomorrow,” he said.

“There’s a backlog, but we’re doing our best to make sure everyone gets their food parcels by the end of the week.”

This is a pattern that is going on throughout the city. Both Pacifica Futures and St. Vincent de Paul have seen an increase in demand since the Level Four announcement.

In Papatoetoe, Rufo Pupuali’i works with the social agency Emerge Aotearoa, mostly with mental health support.

She said she has been working many days, calling people in an effort to connect with support.

“They ask to send food parcels or pick them up immediately, but because of demand they wait three days or a week,” he said.

“These are basic needs.”

Popoli said he was concerned that the number of people he was helping could be the tip of the iceberg, as many did not know where to go. He said it was okay to direct people or advertise on television on the Coved 19 website, but many poor people did not have access to both.

Reverend Jonathan Lefali-Polly’s phone is ringing non-stop. He and other local church leaders formed a response group. Gather resources for help, get the message out there.

“Most of them, especially the elderly, do not have access to Wi-Fi. Or even when they do, they find it difficult when they try and access information. We are trying to help. ” Said.

In a statement, Social Development Minister Carmel Saploni acknowledged there were supply problems, but said he was keeping a close eye on demand.

“Compared to last year, the current epidemic and the shape of Delta is a game changer and it has brought new challenges, including the large number of people who have become ‘close contacts’ and trying to isolate themselves,” he said. Required.

“The whole community that usually comes together and helps each other is very little able to do that.”

Sepoloni said an additional 7 million has been announced for food security networks operating in Alert Level Four, and “we will definitely review it if further assistance is needed.”

He urged people to contact the Ministry of Social Development for the first time, adding that free phone numbers and language support were available.

But Rufo Popoli said it could be easier said than done. There were language barriers, pride, residency, and sometimes visa issues. Agencies have had to be more proactive in finding people who need help.

“They don’t know where to go, they need to get information using the resources of the Pacific language,” he said.

Malia Toi, a community advocate with the Red Cross, was helping with the Mails on Wheels program, as well as finding families and translating information for them.

She said she is seeing demand as never before in the community. But she was also watching a community rally like no one else.

“South Auckland comes together and helps each other and we’ve seen that. We’ve seen all these providers work hard to make sure no family goes without,” he said. ۔ “

“However, we do know that there are some that have slipped through space.”

At the Brown Bataben compound in Manukau, Dave Letelle said he too has seen a flood of support. Local people and businesses want to donate their time and plenty of food.

She had only 13 pellets of food, nappies and baby formula. Others were donating mincemeat, loads of potatoes, and a large portion of bananas.

“We’re all in South Auckland together,” Littley said. “We’ll stay here as long as we have to.”

“No need to be embarrassed, it’s difficult for everyone. We are here to help.”

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