The weekly meal Pearl Solomon started in Te Puke is not just about feeding the homeless, it is about bringing a community together.

The mother of two young boys started the idea of providing a weekly meal more than two years ago as she saw a need in her community of Te Puke.

The "Under the stars feeding those in need -Te Puke" Facebook page now has more than 400 members, which was how the weekly meal was organised.

Every week Solomon decided what hot meal she would like to cook for the community and posted on the Facebook page what ingredients she required.


Locals reply with what ingredients they are able to donate and deliver the food to the Z petrol station, then Solomon picks up all the ingredients and cooks the meal at her home in Papamoa.

She said people from all walks of life volunteered to help serve the hot meal on Saturday nights, which included a lot of support from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"It's not just about homeless people, the meal is for anyone who needs it," said Solomon.

Solomon said she and her family had to move from Te Puke to Papamoa earlier this year as their rental home was being put on the market.

She said it was scary to feel what it could be like to be homeless after only having 42 days to find a new rental.

"That made it really real, it really rang true to me that homelessness could happen to anyone."

She said it was good to see the community acknowledging and addressing the fact there were people who were homeless in Te Puke.

Solomon said she suffered from depression after losing her baby son five years ago and knew a lot of other people in the Te Puke community had mental health issues as well.

"Providing the meal on Saturdays brings joy to my week."

Pearl Solomon created the under the stars meal in Te Puke more than 2 years ago. Photo/ John Borren
Pearl Solomon created the under the stars meal in Te Puke more than 2 years ago. Photo/ John Borren

Te Puke woman Bex Griffiths wanted to give back to Solomon by setting up a Givealittle page to raise funds for an unveiling for her son.

"She (Solomon) works so hard to help others and puts on a meal every single week."

The Givealittle page was set up at the end of October and Griffiths said Solomon was "so surprised" that someone wanted to do something to help her.

"People who do a lot to help others are often reluctant to accept help themselves."

Griffiths' goal was to raise $2000, which would go towards hiring out a marae and food for guests.

"I think its so important for that family (the Solomons) to heal and have a resting place for their son."

You can visit the Givealittle page here.
How you can get involved

-Join the Facebook page 'Under the stars feeding those in need Te Puke'
-Donate weekly ingredients to the Saturday meal
-If you would like to be involved in the cooking of the meal, contact Pearl Solomon on 027 378 9721