The 0800 number set up in late March to assist Northlanders with urgent requirements for essential items arising from Covid-19 has been discontinued but emergency welfare support will continue to be provided through the Ministry of Social Development and other key social sector agencies.
Along with its counterparts around the country, Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group was last week in the process of scaling down its response to the combination of Covid-19 and the ongoing drought, and acknowledged the "extraordinary" contribution of a multitude of organisations and individuals during the Covid-19 response in particular.
Tens of thousands of kai and care packs were distributed by a range of organisations, while others provided support such as phone calls or offering to shop on behalf of those who couldn't leave their homes. Northland CDEM was aware of more than 220 organisations or groups that had been actively involved in providing some form of assistance in Northland.
That was supported by Government funding, which as of last week amounted to $1.425 million channelled through the organisation to iwi, foodbanks, community food organisations and other welfare providers to support the delivery of food and welfare assistance, part of a nationwide $30 million support package.
That was in addition to grants from charitable foundations and other funding provided in the initial stages of the Covid-19 response via the Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kokiri and other funding organisations.
Over the next two years, the MSD will be investing $32m nationally in support for foodbanks, food rescue and other community organisations distributing food.
Demand for food had increased significantly since Covid-19 restrictions were implemented, and increased levels of unemployment and economic hardship were expected to result in more people becoming vulnerable to food insecurity.
MSD Northland Regional Commissioner and Regional Public Service lead Eru Lyndon said Northland had led the way in putting people and families first.
"Across central and local government, in partnership with iwi and the non-government and private sectors, we've ensured people's needs during the national state of emergency were met. As we move into the recovery phase, we'll build on what we've learnt and what works," he said.
Key numbers for help in Northland:
For help with financial assistance: Work and Income on 0800 559 009
For help with the delivery of food if you're sick or unable to get transport to the supermarket: Volunteering Northland on 0800 865 268
If you've been temporarily displaced from your home due to Covid-19 and need support to find short-term, temporary accommodation: MBIE's Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163
If you're a foreign national, please ring your country's consulate or embassy for assistance in the first instance, or alternatively contact Multi-Cultural Whangarei on 0800 437 672
If you feel you're not coping, you can call or text 1737 to talk with a trained counsellor for free, 24/7
If you aren't sure who to talk to, the Government Helpline is available to help you: 0800 779 997.