Shelves at a central Auckland foodbank have been wiped almost bare, with demand up a third on last year's lockdown as the city remains under alert level 4 restrictions for a further two weeks.
The Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN) food bank service has boxed 210 food parcels in four days last week, when it normally provides around 150 in a month.
"Instead of an order once a month, I'm having to place the same order once a week at the moment," said community relationship manager Anne Overton.
A small number of staff have been run off their feet at the foodbank putting together parcels of fresh fruit and vegetables, meats and non-perishable food for families and individuals.
The parcels are then delivered by volunteers following strict Covid-19 safety protocols across Manurewa, New Lynn, Mt Roskill and other parts of central Auckland.
Overton said many families got "caught out" when the alert level 4 restrictions were imposed on the country earlier this month.
"It's the … the families who are on low hourly rate contracts, the cleaners, people who are drivers who all of a sudden don't have work so they don't get paid.
"They don't have food. They live week to week...but they just don't earn enough money to have that little nest egg for emergencies."
Families and people living alone across Auckland can find it difficult to get their groceries for a variety of reasons, Overton said.
"If you don't have access to transport, how do you get to the supermarket?
"If the supermarkets are hard to get to, or you're a single mum or dad who looks after the children, when you go to the supermarket? There are all these things you often don't think about."
Elderly people who are too scared to leave their home out of fear of contracting the highly contagious Delta variant are also asking for food parcels, Overton said.
"They're just fearful, they're locking themselves away, sadly."
The foodbank, located in Grafton, typically works on a referral model.
People are referred to the foodbank by staff, social workers in schools, district health boards and other support agencies.
Overton said the referral model has also contributed to unprecedented demand.
"You get to the families who often won't want to put their hand up.
"We might get 10 requests from our social workers, or even more, we've had up to 19 in one day."
The foodbank delivered 18 parcels to one school alone.
Because of alert level 4 restrictions, people cannot donate food or drop it off to the foodbank. Instead they are ordering all the food in from local supermarkets.
"We have a good relationship with a local supermarket where we can buy large quantities of food and have it delivered to the Foodbank," said Overton.
"The more financial donations we receive, the more food we can buy and the more families we can help during these tough times."
Overton advises anyone in need of a food parcel to contact their local food bank.
How to support
Financial donations to the PSN Foodbank can be made online here.
Company or food manufacturer donations can be made by contacting PSN community relationship manager Anne Overton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get a food parcel
PSN food parcels are only available on a referral basis. People can either ask an agency to refer you, or ask a family worker, social worker in schools or financial mentor at Family Works to refer you.