With food prices reported to be up 8.3%, rental costs escalating and petrol prices at an all-time high, the impact of the increased cost of living on West Auckland families cannot be overestimated.
In Visionwest’s Community Trust’s recent “Whānau Hardship Pulse Survey,” 44% of budgeting clients surveyed reported that they never had sufficient food to meet the needs of their family and 49% believed a lack of household food was affecting their mental health.
Visionwest has a number of initiatives to support vulnerable families through this time. One is the Pātaka Kai. Open noon – 2pm, Tuesday through to Friday each week and located in West Auckland’s Glen Eden, the foodbank is currently providing up to 450 food parcels every week.
Money Mentors, Visionwest’s budgeting service is also experiencing an increased number of clients. In the past 12 months, over 1,800 budgeting sessions have been delivered as people have reached out for support.
Visionwest spokesperson, Brook Turner said of the current requests, “Right now we are seeing an unprecedented demand for our support services. This sudden sharp rise in the cost of living has caught people out and, of those seeking support, many have never previously been in this situation.”
As extra support, Visionwest is already making plans to for Christmas From The Heart. Last year, this event saw 1,313 Christmas food and gift boxes distributed throughout the community and, this year, Visionwest organisers expect the demand to be even greater.