Frozen Meals From LIFE Community Help To Fight Food Insecurity
As an increasing number of families across Tāmaki Makaurau continue to have real challenges accessing essential food items through lockdown, LIFE Community is one of the agencies stepping in to bring help.
The community arm of local Auckland church, LIFE, has responded to this urgent need with a number of initiatives.
Through the past week, over 2000 frozen meals have been provided into emergency and transitional housing to support whānau and rangatahi, and to people in need through community partners including hundreds of meals to Pasifika families in self-isolation.
Says Kirimangu Tautogia, Head of Social Services at LIFE Community’s QES (Quality Education Services), “We serve our most vulnerable whānau in South Auckland. We knew that the whānau we support would feel the weight of yet another Level 4 lockdown as most of the families we serve do not have the financial cushioning that our more affluent families in our community have. In the very first week of lockdown we getting multiple calls for support from our whānau in emergency housing, transitional housing and across generally across the board…. the need for kai was huge. Most of our clients who are in emergency housing and transitional housing don’t own cars and so getting to a food bank is challenging, especially with tamariki.”
A key issue for people in emergency housing is that they seldom have access to a fully functioning kitchen so food parcels cannot often be appropriately prepared.
“That’s why frozen meals are so ideal,” adds Kirimangu, “they give our whānau the opportunity to have access to a good, cooked meal without the need for a fully equipped kitchen.”
LIFE Community works with QES, Auckland DHB and the Starship Community, The Fono (Pasifika Trust) along with other community groups.
In a separate initiative, through its online ‘The Giving Store’ portal, (www.thegivingstore.org.nz) the church has been able to donate over 900 ‘lockdown food essentials packs’ to people in need.
In relation to The Giving Store, LIFE Community’s Executive, Nick Edwards, explains: “Lockdown is a time when people can feel as though they are locked out of being able to help. The wider community indeed has a responsibility to help where they are able and we are excited that The Giving Store platform enables everyday Kiwis to help everyday Kiwis.”
And once Auckland moves down the Alert Levels, LIFE Community will recommence its Healthy Lunches programme into schools and LIFE Community Kitchens, which normally operate at seven locations across the city bringing around 1500 hot, nutritious meals a week.