Two years after the start of the pandemic, Te Puke's social services sector continues to adapt to its community's needs.
The recent spike in Omicron cases and the requirements for those with Covid and close contacts to isolate has meant more adjustments.
Over the next four weeks The Daily Charitable Trust - the social enterprise behind The Daily Cafe - will be making 3000 meals to be distributed to the community through Poutiri Trust, The Hub Te Puke and Ngā Kākano Foundation.
At the same time the cafe will be operating on limited hours.
Poutiri Trust general manager Kirsty Maxwell-Crawford says Poutiri is supporting around 200 families - some through isolation and others because of their economic situation.
''We are providing food as well as other support depending on what it is that's needed,'' says Kirsty.
In partnership with The Hub Te Puke and The Daily, Poutiri is providing a localised response for any families that are isolating and struggling.
The aim is to reduce the impact of isolation on families.
''If we can provide a food care package that meets families' needs for up to five days, then that's one less stress for families.
"Some families are already well stocked which is fantastic, but for other families it has been difficult the last two years financially and some can't afford to already have 10 days or two weeks' worth of groceries sitting in their pantries.
''It is a challenge because we have chosen not to just provide standardised pre-packed boxes, because every family is different and we have a strong multi-ethnic community.''
She says the financial strain of job losses because of vaccination mandates or businesses closing is very evident.
''It means it's not as easy for people to be fully stocked in their cupboard and then if they are isolating it brings them another challenge.''
The Daily has been providing meals to include in food parcels.
''Seeka has also supported us by providing a number of boxes and Trevelyan's have done the same for The Hub which is really good because when you buy boxes it's actually expensive.
"Every kai package we provide we could easily spend between $2 and $5 on the box alone, so it helps us to free up our resources to put food in the boxes by not having to pay for the boxes. We are incredibly grateful to Seeka and Trevelyan's for doing that.''
The Daily general manager Chrissi Robinson says over the next four weeks the cafe will provide 3000 meals for the community. Through its government-funded free Lunches in Schools programme, it is providing meals for students even if they are isolating or their school is closed.
''The biggest shift is how we are using our cafe facility. It's been hard as a cafe since the mandates and it's got quieter and quieter.''
Now the cafe will be open for takeaway drinks only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and staff will be making meals for community distribution.
The meals go to Poutiri Trust at cost, financed through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).
''That makes good use of our facilities for what the community needs at the moment, so our staff who are usually there making eggs benedict and things are now making macaroni cheese and spaghetti bolognese and really good family meals with lots of veges.''
The situation will be reviewed mid April.
The cafe will be closed completely on Thursdays then open as usual on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Daily provides school lunches for most of the schools in the district. The service is also currently not without its challenges as a result of supply shortages and staff having to isolate.
''There have definitely been days when things haven't shown up that have been ordered and we just have to get creative,'' says Chrissi.
When it became obvious there would be supply issues the trust formulated a business continuity plan.
''It means if one supplier is struggling, there are other options we can bring in.''
Staff shortages due to isolation have also had to be overcome.
''We are also bringing in people and have some volunteers helping, just trying to be really flexible.''
Poutiri Trust has held the contract to provide MSD's Community Connections Service for some time. Kirsty says some people are struggling to maintain a steady income or sufficient income and there is support available for those people.
''They may be struggling to get a warrant on their car so they can get to work, petrol has become more of a struggle.
''The majority of support we are being asked for at the moment is in response to Covid isolation, but there still continues to be a steady but smaller number [of requests] around getting back into employment or being able to afford some of the basics.''
Since Christmas Ngā Kākano Foundation has worked consistently with its local iwi Tapuika, Waitaha, Ngā Matapuna Oranga and Manu Toroa including Manaaki Ora, local hapū and the many whānau, families and diverse communities within Te Puke district to provide medical, social supports and food parcels.
''This has been done to minimise the negative impact of this pandemic on our community,'' says community services manager Rutu Swinton.
''As a Mana Whenua Māori Health Provider, Ngā Kākano would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of The Hub Te Puke and the Daily Cafe who have provided the food to sustain many of the whānau and families impacted by this pandemic.''
The foundation has also worked alongside The Daily's school lunches programme to provide healthy lunches for kohanga reo tamariki.
Poutiri Trust is continuing to provide vaccinations, PCR tests and is distributing RATs.