Volunteers in Whangārei have begun handing out food containers to the homeless and hungry rather than hosting them in a building during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Others such as the Salvation Army and Food Rescue Northland are working with the Whangarei District Council and public health officials to work out a plan for helping their clients with food parcels as the country went into a lockdown.Open Arms Day Centre in Whangārei is still feeding the district's homeless, but is handing out food parcels from it's Robert St base, rather than hosting them in its building.
Soul Food What's Cooking Whangārei co-ordinator Rochelle Youens and her husband Chris put on face masks and hoodies and started food preparation without the volunteers at the Anglican Parish hall on Deveron St.
"We are containing all food by putting them in containers with a plastic spoon and people are told to come one at a time at the door, grab a container, and walk out."
Fifty-five people were fed last week and Youens said they have a capacity to feed between 20 and 70 people at a time.
Those wishing to drop food items can do so outside the hall's back door.
Soul Food has been running for seven years and currently has seven volunteers.
Food Rescue Northland will still distribute food items to places like soup kitchens and marae but has adopted a no contact policy.
Manager Peter Nicholas said volunteers would drop off food at agreed locations rather than hand delivering them.
The Salvation Army continued to distribute food parcels to those most in need up until yesterday but people are being asked to ring or check its website for details on how to access services.
All Salvation Army buildings are closed but it will continue to work with the Government, other community service providers and corporate partners to continue providing essential services.
"The best way people can help those in need is by donating non-perishable food items to their local Countdown supermarket," he says.
Purple bins will be waiting to receive donations, which will then be distributed by The Salvation Army.
"We encourage people to visit our website where they can find more information on ways to donate. We will be doing our utmost to help people who will be really struggling through this upheaval.