Drive-through Christmas food bank opens in Auckland as demand increases for the first time
A new Christmas drive-through food bank has opened in West Auckland to help new users ‘maintain their dignity’.
The food bank will see food and toy packages distributed through a contactless drive-thru model.
West Auckland charity Visionwest Waka Whakakitenga said its research had shown that an increase in financial hardship linked to Covid was straining the mental health of many Kiwis.
Brook Turner, manager of community services development at Visionwest, said the drive-thru model was tested in 2020, and a survey showed it was preferred by almost all participants.
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Turner said that before the start of the pandemic, about 10% of people supported by food packages faced financial hardship. This figure had now risen to 60%.
“The impact of this pressure on household finances will peak during the Christmas season, with many Whānau facing poverty for the first time in their lives.
“Helping to preserve the dignity of this segment of the community during this time is essential to help them get back on their feet. “
The drive-thru operated by having volunteers place food packages in the trunk of each car.
“We asked trial participants how it compared to walking into our cafe, eating Christmas food or having a barbecue, and 90% said they preferred the in-car model,” Turner said.
“Many are facing their first Christmas in years without a job, or who have been recently kicked out and may even have their biggest debt load – by providing a contactless service, we can help preserve their self-esteem when they go. contact an assistance service. “
Auckland’s food banks have been ‘overwhelmed’ by demand in recent months as the effects of the latest lockdown hit.
In August, Dave Letele, who runs Brown Buttabean Motivation’s food bank in Manukau, said each lockdown “only gets worse”.
“The people we help live day-to-day, not just paycheck to paycheck. “
During the first lockdown in 2020, Auckland City Mission’s food parcel demand soared 175%.