Pātaka Kai staff knew the demand for food would be huge, and it was – a substantial 45% greater than normal. Something had to give and, with seriously depleted food stocks, Visionwest has had to initiate an emergency food appeal.
Each time a COVID Alert has been issued in Auckland, the demand on Visionwest’s Pātaka Kai (food support) has been considerable. During the latest COVID Alert Level 3 event (February 15 – 18), the Pātaka Kai was open for two of the three days. In that time, 203 food packages were given away. That’s about one parcel every two minutes (the Pātaka Kai is only open to whānau for three hours a day; the rest of the day is spent organising and packing parcels).
The latest COVID event has meant stocks of essential foods are running dangerously low, hence the emergency food appeal. https://www.visionwest.org.nz/emergencyfoodappeal
One of the features of the demand for emergency food in recent times is that the face of food insecurity is changing. Those needing food support are often people from our local communities who are struggling to put food on the table because of job losses or wage decreases caused by COVID.
It’s significant that, of those who requested a food package over the past few days, 70% gave the reason as being a sudden decrease in income and the anxiety that accompanies that.
We recently helped a man who, in 2020, had lost three jobs in quick succession because of business cutbacks during COVID. He relied on the Pātaka Kai to be able to feed his family. He now has a steady job and is pleased to be in control of his finances once again.
When you are financially vulnerable like that man, something as simple as an unexpected visit to the doctor or an outgrown pair of school shoes means money set aside for food is simply gone, eaten up by the need to pay an urgent bill – it’s great to be able to help.
This means our Pātaka Kai is busier than ever as an increasing number of people turn to Visionwest for essential support.
Food poverty is a real and ongoing issue for thousands of Aucklanders. This Emergency Food Appeal is an opportunity to those who understand the challenge many face with food insecurity, but are unsure how to respond, to do something tangible to help.
A donation to Pātaka Kai will help families, who would otherwise go without, access essential emergency food.