Mission to city an eye-opener for pair

By Jonathan Dine

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Kiri and Kevin Swannell of Limitless Hope in the caravan they took to Auckland this weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland
Kiri and Kevin Swannell of Limitless Hope in the caravan they took to Auckland this weekend. Photo / Warren Buckland

The Limitless Hope team are heading home, exhausted but humbled.

The founders of the homeless advocacy group, Kiri and Kevin Swannell, spent the weekend in the City of Sails, taking a mountain of food with them.

The couple, with their children and friend Owen John Pomana, fed more than 150 people on the Auckland streets.

Mr Pomana helped connect the Swannells with the mission and Auckland's most vulnerable.

"We are tired but encouraged and humbled by the people from all walks of life we have encountered," Mrs Swannell said.

The caravan arrived in Manurewa about 9pm on Friday night where they served until just after 1am. The next day they parked right outside Auckland City Mission where they stayed all day serving lunch and dinner.

A number of volunteers turned up to help serve and even buy more food.

"We had no idea who they were - they must have been tagged in our Facebook posts, it was just awesome to see," Mrs Swannell said.

Many of these volunteers were looking at setting up their own version of Limitless Hope in Auckland.

Having their family on board gives the couple a great sense of pride. "To know that we could walk away at any time and the girls would carry it on is an amazing feeling."

The girls went out on their own in the city to chat with people on the streets and direct them to the caravan.

"It's definitely a different culture," Mrs Swannell said.

One homeless man they met had both legs amputated.

"This shouldn't be happening, we don't have this sort of extreme in Hawke's Bay," Mrs Swannell said.

A fundraising campaign saw the Swannells raise $65,000 for a homeless shelter but finding land for the two-storey building donated by Property Brokers presented too many road blocks.

They were still looking at other options with the money raised still earmarked for an emergency shelter.

Another goal for the trust is to set up a community cafe with a commercial kitchen with $70,000 worth of equipment donated by Pan Pac.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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