Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

New food bank for struggling South Auckland families

File photo / APN
File photo / APN

Struggling South Auckland families will have access to a new food bank this week.

The Auckland City Mission today announced a new "partnership" food bank at Nga Whare Waatea marae in Mangere would open its doors on Wednesday at 11am.

The food bank, which is a joint initiative between the City Mission and community group Manukau Urban Maori Authority (Muma), has been touted as a new and more effective approach of reaching those most in need.

"This initiative is in direct response to preliminary findings by the Mission's ground-breaking Family 100 research project about the real difficulties families faced when the unexpected happened and people had run out of options,"Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said.

The study - conducted by Waikato, Massey and Auckland universities - aimed to increase awareness around the growing number of New Zealanders affected by socio-economic problems.

It also aimed to increase understanding around the complexities of families in these situations, and enable agencies to provide a better response to their needs.

Ms Robertson said feedback from the study revealed how time-consuming, complex and costly the process for accessing social support services was.

"This prompted us to reflect on how we could improve the situation," she said.

The City Mission's partnering with other community agencies around Auckland in the operation of food banks was a fundamental transformation.

The food bank at the Nga Whare Waatea marae, and partnership with MUMA, was the first trial of this new initiative, Ms Robertson said.

Muma chief executive Willie Jackson said the food bank would complement the organisation's work in the South Auckland community.

"Muma is the biggest provider of Whanau Ora in South Auckland, serving over 600 families.

"Access to the conveniently located food bank in the centre of Mangere will provide welcome relief for families struggling to make ends meet.

"Our partnership with the City Mission has great potential, and we look forward to a strong and productive relationship," Mr Jackson said.

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Nga Whare Waatea marae food bank:

* 31 Calthorpe Close, Mangere

* The City Mission will deliver food parcels to the new food bank on a weekly basis

* Parcels include boxed non-perishable items, dairy, meat, and fruit and vegetables

* Mission personnel will also assist Muma assessors with training and support

- APNZ

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