Covid-19: Taranaki charities working to feed the need during lockdown

Covid-19: Taranaki charities working to feed the need during lockdown

New Plymouth Foodbank manager Sharon Wills got busy getting food parcels ready once lockdown hit.

Last lockdown brought the busiest time a Taranaki food charity has ever seen – now it’s preparing for round two.

Organisations around the maunga are working on ways to get food to those in need during the lockdown.

In New Plymouth, the local Foodbank was opening on Wednesday and Friday to make sure none of its families go hungry.

“We are doing what we normally do,” Manager Sharon Wills said. “However, we’re doing it no contact.”

Wills was working without volunteers, and just asked her husband to come in and give her a hand, on Wednesday.

She said the organisation had adapted to the community’s needs, following last year’s lockdown.

“We’ve had more people through the door than ever before.”

Wills said it’s business as usual, but without any contact.

They’re using the same practices this time around, with all referrals having to come through over the phone or digitally.

Wills said they were fine for supplies at the moment, and discouraged people from bringing in donations.

“If this is gone by the weekend, it doesn’t make a difference.”

But she said if people are doing their essential shops at supermarkets, she welcomed putting food into the donations boxes there.

On the House will be able to open its Lawry St free food store’s doors this week. (File photo)

Food rescue organisation On the House is opening its Moturoa free food store’s doors to the public on Thursday.

“Even though we’re in lockdown, the need is still there in the community,” logistics manager Terry Hancock said. “I think it’s important that in these times we have as much consistency as possible.”

He said On The House was also about community connection and social interaction, and situations like lockdown “exacerbates” that need.

As it is classed as a food bank, the Lawry St store can operate under a strict one-in, one-out policy, with visitors having to abide by level 4 restrictions, including wearing a mask.

“We have a very limited supply of masks for those who don’t have one, but we strongly encourage bringing your own in case others without access to PPE can still come get food.”

The organisation is also happy to do a contactless pick up from organisations which have surplus food and cannot operate, Hancock said.

“No one wants to see perfectly good food go to waste.”

The Kai Kitchen's free store will open under the Government's requirements next week. (File photo)

In an emailed statement, Kai Kitchen secretary Michelle Mills said the South Taranaki organisation was working to provide food to their community next week.

They usually deliver a week’s worth of lunches to schools on a Monday, and open their free Store on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mills said they will not open their store on Thursday, nor deliver lunches on Monday if the region is still in lockdown.

But, they planned to open their store next week, while working to fit the Government’s requirements.

“We are committed to meeting the needs of our local community and also ensuring that we are operating in a safe manner,” Mills said in her statement.

Source: Taranaki Daily News

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