17 Oct 2022

Former boxer Dave Letele on foodbank theft: 'If they'd only waited, we would've given it'

1:13 pm on 17 October 2022
Dave Letele, owner of Buttabean Motivation Foodbank in Wiri

Dave Letele surveys the empty shelves at the Brown Buttabean foodbank in Manukau. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Former boxer Dave Letele says he's saddened and disheartened by the theft of produce worth at least $10,000 from the busy foodbank he runs in Auckland.

Brown Buttabean foodbank in Manukau, which has been delivering food parcels for whānau during lockdowns and now the cost-of-living crisis, had its freezers emptied on Sunday afternoon.

"I'm hoping they did it because they needed the food, but even then, they didn't have to take everything," David Letele said.

"The sad things is if they'd only just waited till today, we would've given it … they didn't have to do this," he said.

He said three large freezers full of meat were emptied, along with butter, fruit and vegetables from the charity's main stock room.

Letele said the offenders entered through a window on the second story of the warehouse, and believed they may have been assisted by a truck.

Donations have flooded in since Letele posted to social media about the incident.

Bread at the Buttabean Motivation Foodbank in Wiri

Dave Letele has been able to restock thanks to donors who have helped out. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

Letele said he was thankful for all the assistance, including one company that offered to donate security systems.

He now had enough donations to restock but would needed to wait for the security systems to be complete before they could safely store food in the warehouse again.

Letele said it was crazy that foodbanks were being targeted at all.

He said there were many grassroots organisations in this space which could be vulnerable to such incidents.

"The reason why I raised such a fuss is because it's not just about us, if this happened to another group that doesn't have our profile, that can't raise the awareness to get support, it would be enough to finish them"

Meanwhile, there were at least four burglaries of commercial premises in Auckland overnight.

Five people have been arrested and referred to Youth Aid following burglaries near Auckland Airport.

Two shops at the Onehunga Mall were also broken into overnight.

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