Increasing numbers of Northlanders are relying on emergency food parcels to feed their families due to the socio-economic impacts of Covid-19.
Food banks across the region are reporting huge surges in demand for food staples compared to pre-Covid levels, and they're expecting a second wave as residents continue to suffer job losses, pay cuts and reduced hours.
The Far North Community Foodbank Trust has even started a Givealittle page to raise funds in order to keep meeting the needs of families.
Manager Christie Meyer said demand for food assistance in the Far North had more than doubled since lockdown began in March.
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Last year 777 emergency food parcels were given out, at around 15 parcels per week.
In under three months from March 23 to June 16 the organisation gave out nearly 300 parcels, around 24 parcels a week, feeding 880 people.
They have also increased deliveries from four days to seven days, Meyer said.
"Some clients have lost their jobs or are on such reduced hours that they are needing assistance. And there are the working poor - they don't qualify for a benefit or any financial assistance but are barely scraping by.
"Some are asking for help for the first time in their lives and are overwhelmed, stressed and some are shy or ashamed."
Meyer said the charity remained open throughout the lockdown and "intend to continue being there for all those that need our assistance".
"Although the lockdown resulted in the first wave of need, we do believe the second wave is still to follow and we will be ready."
Kairos Trust, which operates a food bank from the Kerikeri Baptist Church, has experienced similar demand.
Food bank administrator Erin Titmus said over 80 food parcels have been delivered to needy families in Kerikeri and surrounding areas over the last few weeks, up from the usual three or four parcels a week.
The group has been getting referrals from schools, Work and Income, Citizens Advice Bureau and "anywhere and everywhere", she said.
"People are embarrassed to come and ask for help. People have lost jobs and have had reduced hours; their main concern is paying the rent or mortgage and having a roof over their head - they worry about food later."
Titmus said one Kerikeri woman with 10 children who never had to rely on the service before had food delivered mid-May as she was unable to work.
"She burst into tears, and said she'd never had this happen before, she can now put a meal on the table for her family."
"I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," Titmus said.
"Because the [Bay of Islands] area is highly geared to hospitality and tourism and we all know that's where job losses are the hardest hit, we expect demand to continue."
In April the Salvation Army in Whangārei reported an increase of more than 600 per cent for its food parcels compared to demand pre-Covid-19.
Along with supplying food to families in Whangārei, the Sallies on Aubrey St are now packaging food for Northlanders living in the mid-North and Kaipara.
Salvation Army Whangārei manager of community ministries Trevor McLean said the food bank was distributing parcels each week to families in Whangārei, Ruakākā, Dargaville, Waitangi, Kaikohe, and Moerewa.
"Demand for the region is still heavy," McLean said.
"Whangārei is not as much as we were getting before but on average we're still doing 600 to 900 food parcels a week.
"Our concern is what the economic impact of Covid over the next two months through to Christmas is going to be, and are we resourced enough to meet that need.
"We're trying to balance the food parcel demand now, but also into the future, but we can only do what we can do. It's been hard."
Meyer said so far $7000 of the $10,000 goal has been raised for the Far North food bank charity from "wonderful people in the Far North and even other areas of New Zealand".
"As a charity we rely solely on funding from organisations and support from organisations and individuals.
"We work very hard to stretch every dollar and keep our running costs as low as possible and try to get as much food donated as possible but sadly there is a financial shortage, so we reach out for help."