The Auckland City Mission is bursting at the seams and crying out for help as it is inundated with desperate need.
The charity has been struggling since May and Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly said they've been at full capacity for weeks and can't see it letting up anytime soon.
"The sharp edge of poverty is felt around winter more than any other time. People are living hand to mouth," Farrelly told the Herald.
"It's like the tide is rising."
In an ideal world the Mission's Homeless Outreach Team of six social workers would have 10 cases each. But some are taking on up to 30 complex clients, many of whom need daily contact and intensive care.
Farrelly was urgently looking at ways to increase staff numbers. They needed to double to meet current needs. But the Mission needs to raise an additional $60,000 for each social worker.
This winter the Mission will provide 2215 emergency food parcels, administer 2580 health checks, serve 53,000 drinks and walk the streets of Auckland every weekday.
The closure of nearby homeless support services means the Mission is now central Auckland's only outreach provider of day-to-day support for people experiencing homelessness.
One of the Mission's frontline staff Sophie Spencer said they were overwhelmed by the deeper issues underneath pressing needs like food.
"Over a morning, we might meet a 19-year-old taking responsibility for her younger siblings because her parents are struggling with addiction," Spencer said.
"We might later see a mother escaping partner violence, a bereaved widower using alcohol in a bid to cope with grief, and an isolated elderly gentleman seeking company and healthcare support."
Those in poverty were spending what little cash they had on things like heating and power during the winter months, Farrelly said. This left no money for food, medical visits or unexpected expenses. He had also seen a rise in addiction issues including synthetic drugs.
Farrelly urged Kiwis to generously support the charity. Donated funds were preferred, as they allowed the Mission to address the deeper issues someone might be facing.
"We really want to acknowledge the incredible support from Auckland in terms of food donations.
"Food is an important and immediate need, but our aim is always to help clients become independent of us," he said.
Go to the Mission's Winter Appeal to donate.