18 Jan 2021

Foodbank still grappling with demand resulting from Covid-19 impact

8:06 am on 18 January 2021

A foodbank service is still trying to meet the demand from families impacted by the very first Covid-19 lockdown.

Open food parcel

File photo. Photo: RNZ Insight / Sarah Robson

Auckland's Village Community Trust - founded by All Black legend Sir Michael Jones - has been inundated with requests since the first lockdown where thousands of parcels were distributed - and things haven't stopped.

It runs a range of services from sports and holiday programmes to mentoring but over the years the shift has focused to its foodbank in Avondale.

And Sir Michael said Covid-19 was a huge catalyst.

"It was unbelievable actually, our foodbank was just meeting a need for our local community and then next minute 100 to then 2000 packages in a few days," he said.

After the first lockdown the foodbank moved to a bigger warehouse to meet demands.

The foodbank relied on a small amount of funding, and the rest was generosity from the community, but Sir Michael said it was never enough.

"You know we just run everything on the smell of an oily rag, we feel that pressure and it's growing."

Village Community Trust community navigator Naylar Uisa said a standard parcel for a family of four contained toiletries, cereals and other basics, vegetables, bread, meat and other extras like eggs or milk.

Trust general manager Lady Maliena Jones - Sir Michael's wife - said the foodbank had to reduce hours of operation as it survived with the help of volunteers.

"We wouldn't be able to afford to pay that many staff so having volunteers come in it's a big help, at the moment we've got it that people are able to pick up food from us four days a week, maybe a team of about six to 10 that are regulars."