The COVID-19 experience has changed the face of all support services provided by VisionWest, none more so than the Pātaka Kai (food service).
COVID and Pātaka Kai
The most radical change came with the move to COVID Alert Level 4 lockdown back in March. The need for isolation and social distancing saw the Pātaka Kai transition from a self-service food store model to a food delivery service where food was stored and packed on-site before being personally delivered it to the homes of whānau.
When it was announced that New Zealand was going into Alert Level 4 lockdown, an urgent fundraising campaign was initiated with the sole aim being to secure funds to purchase food for the anticipated increase in demand. In a single day, kind-hearted donors committed $90,000 – that’s the power of many generous hearts working together.
Within a couple of weeks, the number of food parcels being requested more than tripled from around 300 per week to over 1,100 per week. In all, those generous hearts helped feed over 27,000 individuals.
A new demographic of need
The move away from lockdown has not meant a return to normal levels of demand. Lost jobs and lower incomes mean the need for food support has hit a new demographic. Food parcel distribution remains at about 800 per week as people who were previously financially secure now find themselves economically vulnerable.
It’s these vulnerable adults and children who your generosity is helping. They won’t need help forever but, at this time, it’s your kindness that provides the hope and support they need to keep going.