Ani Tamaki says after seeing families struggle and children going to school hungry she wanted to help in some way.

Now, the Dargaville woman will be supplying 80 school lunch packs for families in need.

Ms Tamaki has established Feed a Family Whangarei - a Northland branch of the Auckland-based charitable trust, founded by Vance and Jasmine McPhee in 2013, which helps the homeless and struggling families.

Since the establishment of the original Feed a Family, mother-of-four Ms Tamaki has been donating money and food and heading to Auckland to help when she can.


"I'd been watching since 2013 so when the call for help was put out, I didn't hesitate to help," she said.

Ms Tamaki has always wanted to launch a Northland branch of the trust and now she has.

On Monday, she and the small Feed a Family Whangarei crew will be outside the Whangarei i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at 6.30pm with 80 school lunches for families in need.

"As well as being my local area it was just seeing the need from families here. We know there is a lack of employment. Children go to school hungry. I thought if there is a problem here, there is elsewhere. I wanted to help in some way," she said.

Ms Tamaki, who is the aunty of Ms McPhee, said she had been to Auckland twice on Monday nights when Feed a Family set up outside the Manurewa Work and Income office.

She said there is no stereotypical person accessing the services.

"It could be anything pulling on the purse strings. Food might be put last after paying rent and power and everything you need to keep a house going. It is not just specifically for the homeless, it happens to anybody," she said.

It is the first time Feed a Family has been rolled out to another area. Ms Tamaki described the responsibility as "taking on a big baby" but said it is in her nature to want to help.

"It's something I used to do when I lived in Australia, we saw it there. I think it's my own upbringing, seeing my parents give themselves to help.

"I definitely haven't been without my own struggles and you learn to make it work. Some people get whakama [embarrassed] to ask for help but it's amazing what happens over food."

To people who say it is the responsibility of parents to supply their children with lunch, Ms Tamaki said: "I mean as much as I'd love to say yes, it's the responsibility of parents. There is people struggling and I don't want anyone to miss out. It's not the children's fault," she said.

If anyone wants to supply fruit or anything to fill lunch boxes they can bring it down to the Feed a Family Whangarei set up at the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre on Monday at 6.30pm.

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