Corazon Miller is a NZ Herald reporter

Couple's food drive helping hundreds

A couple who've had their own financial struggles are making it their mission to help those still on hard times - by handing out food each week to hundreds in need.

Nine years ago, Vance and Jasmine McPhee were at their lowest point, with four kids and not enough money to pay the electricity bill.

They found themselves without power, heating up a can of baked beans over a candle.

"We know how it feels for people going through this current social climate," Vince Mcphee said. "We were moved to act."

Now they are in a better financial position the Auckland couple, who now have five children, are doing their bit to give a helping hand - heading out every Monday to Manurewa armed with dishes of healthy, hearty meals and about 60 school lunches for the kids.

As well as the food they bring donated goods, including blankets, socks, toiletries and even sanitary items for girls and women in need.

McPhee, 40, who works in mental health, said the numbers of those coming had grown from 90 in the first week, peaking at 200 from week three onwards.

It was no longer just families under the poverty line struggling.

"What's happening is we are getting a lot of working families. Their rentals are just killing them, plus the cost of living on top of that. Most families are coming up short."

The food drive, now in its tenth week, grew out of their charity, Feed a Family - through which the couple hoped to help educate and enable families to "eat well within the constraints of a budget".

In 2013 Jasmine McPhee, who runs a catering business, began posting advice and recipes to help big families on a tight budget.

It grew to become part of the charitable trust, which the couple bankroll with the support of extra donations from the community.

"It's a response to the need in the community," Vince McPhee said.

"We are so deeply concerned about what's happening out there."

- NZ Herald

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