While it's far from business as usual, Te Puke's The Daily Cafe is continuing its support for the Te Puke community during alert level 4.

Rather than providing lattes, salads, filos and omelettes, the cafe kitchen has been churning out hundreds of meals to be distributed to those in need.

On the face of it, The Daily is a regular cafe, but the trust behind it - The Search Party Charitable Trust - established the cafe as a vehicle for seeking out and meeting community needs.

One of its initiatives is a monthly Cottage Pie Night, when anyone who wants to help heads along to the cafe to make cottage pies, which are then available to those in need in the community.


Trustee Jo Reha says the cafe is still doing the same thing, just on a bigger scale and with fewer people involved.

Chef Andrew Fletcher and his wife Marine made 400 meals last week and are aiming a further 300 this week.

The trust took a leap of faith and started ordering ingredients as soon as it got the nod that it could operate as an essential service at the beginning of last week.

''We didn't have funding but we thought, 'This is already part of what we provide anyway, outside of the cafe, and it is part of our core focus as a charity','' Reha said.

''So, as soon as we were given the thumbs up we could be an essential service, we just jumped in and started smashing them out, knowing that what we were doing was important and we would find the money.''

There was no certainty that funding could be secured.

''But we thought there's going to be people in this community who are more than happy to put money towards it, which has proven to be right. Through our Givealittle page, we've been given a huge amount of money already, which is awesome.''

Andrew Fletcher is volunteering his time and is in the same bubble as Marine. The pair made cottage pies, bolognaise and chickpea curry last week.


''This guy is a high cuisine chef - when he's cooking, he's cooking beautiful-tasting meals,'' Reha said.

Meals are being distributed through Ngā Kākano Foundation, EmpowermentNZ, Poutiri Charitable Trust and iwi organisations.

Reha said there were also plans to extend its Love Lunch initiative, through which people could pay for a lunch which then goes to a nominated person in need. The idea is to extend the concept so families in need can be nominated.

''We know the pressure is on [families] at the moment ... people sometimes forget that they are really struggling too,'' said Reha. ''We stereotype what a struggle looks like, but everybody struggles at some point.''

A link to the trust's Givealittle page is on The Daily Cafe Facebook page.