In the first three days of the August lockdown, Visionwest distributed 1,131 Emergency Food Parcels – more than the number for the entire month of July.
By the end of December, we had distributed 15,459 parcels – each parcel is designed to feed two adults and two children for four days – so this number equates to more than 742,032 individual meals for whānau.
The numbers are unprecedented – never before have we experienced such a dramatic need for food.
The majority of people receiving parcels cited financial hardship as the reason they needed help. Reduced work hours and jobs lost because of the pandemic continue to have a huge impact on the community we serve.
Initially a contactless “drive-through” model was employed for whānau to receive the food parcels they needed, however this quickly pivoted to a home delivery service when the extent of the risk of COVID in the community was understood – especially the risk to the most vulnerable whānau Visionwest supports.
Visionwest was able to partner with volunteer agencies as well as redeploying its own staff to ensure food was delivered to families in the safety of their own homes.
As well as alleviating the immediate need for food, Visionwest is also able to provide whānau with other support to help address the underlying causes of food insecurity. These include budgeting and financial mentoring, counselling and wellbeing, and housing services.
The 2021 lockdowns have again highlighted both the acute and chronic hardship experienced by many people. Low incomes coupled with expensive housing and food costs, mean many people in our communities have limited financial resources to fall back on in a crisis.
Visionwest’s massive emergency food response during lockdown was only made possible because of the support of the community – so a huge thank you to everyone who donated or contributed towards this effort which made a huge difference to thousands of families.
Here are some words from just one family who received food:
“Thank you so much for the delivery of a food parcel today, it means so much to us. We had yummy corned beef sandwiches for lunch. We can only normally get corned beef if we got it via a foodbank because money is so tight for us. God bless and thank you to all the people who help make this happen.”
Watch this video to see first-hand the impact of the emergency food response.
Click here to find out more about Visionwest Pataka Kai and our emergency food response.