A new e-cookbook celebrates and promotes favourite Waikato food establishments, encourages local hospitality patronage as doors start to open again, and fundraises for Momentum Waikato's Greatest Needs Appeal.

One hundred per cent of every donation for the e-cookbook goes directly to the appeal, which is fundraising to get food to the region's most vulnerable during the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The appeal accelerates and secures the delivery of food and winter essentials to locals in real need, partnering with Wise Group, Community Waikato and the Waikato Community Funders Group in a variety of ways.

The Mighty Waikato Cookbook can be purchased for a donation – from $5 but the more the better - and downloaded at www.mightywaikatocookbook.co.nz. A receipt and PDF download link will be sent to you.

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You can recreate some favourite tastes at home and will be prompted to head to your local eateries to experience the rest of their menus.

Momentum Waikato chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton says the cookbook is a prime example of a successful collaboration between organisations to help our communities get through these challenging times.

"Linking with Momentum Waikato's Greatest Needs Appeal ensures that every cent of your cookbook donation will go towards addressing real needs without delay - currently we are hearing this is food and winter warmth essentials," he says.

How about donating what you would have paid for that favourite restaurant or cafe meal you have been missing? Or the cost of feeding a family for one day?

The Covid-19 crisis has caused a veritable smorgasbord of food dilemmas and challenges.

For some it has merely been figuring out something creative for dinner as the lockdown days stretched on.

For others, loss of income has made putting any kind of food on the table a challenge - there has been a huge surge in demand for food parcels and meals from community service providers, with many people finding themselves at food banks for the first time.

The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, with support from Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, decided now is the ideal time to launch a regional fundraising promotional cookbook.

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The Mighty Waikato Cookbook is a culinary journey around the Waikato, from the mountains to the sea. It is filled with more than 50 delicious recipes from 40 of our region's iconic restaurants and cafes, so there is something for everyone.

Claudelands Events Centre has been a hive of activity with 25,000 meals cooked so far and 2600 food parcels prepared. Photo / Hamilton City Council
Claudelands Events Centre has been a hive of activity with 25,000 meals cooked so far and 2600 food parcels prepared. Photo / Hamilton City Council

The 'Here to Help U' project, driven by Wise Group and Community Waikato and supported by Momentum Waikato and others, aims to provide easy access to assistance and meet the surge in demand for social services.

The identified need is being met by a range of suppliers. The biggest single player is the large commercial kitchen at Claudelands Event Centre, owned by the Hamilton City Council, which has so far produced more than 25,000 meals and 2600 food parcels, distributed to those in need across the region.

Meanwhile, Wise Group's Houchen Hub, a facility in the guardianship of Momentum Waikato, has also been producing care packages for vulnerable families.

The team there has distributed 590 food parcels, 2650 frozen meals and 283 hygiene packs since the start of the crisis.

"From our team at Momentum Waikato, and on behalf of hungry families, struggling hospitality businesses and the project's partners, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support," Eglinton says.