Food parcels delivered in the Wellington region have increased three- or four-fold during lockdown, community services say.
As the capital enters its second week at alert level 4 lockdown, Wellington City Missioner Murray Eldridge says demand for their services is continuing to increase.
Hundreds of food parcels have gone out to households in need since the lockdown was announced last week; 52 were delivered yesterday alone.
"Every day it's increasing ... of course the further in you go with this thing, the more anxious people become and the more desperate their circumstances," Eldridge said.
"People might have some food in the house and that could last a period of time but I know there'll be families today who are wondering how they're going to feed their kids."
"For most of us lockdown is merely an inconvenience in our lives, but for those doing it tough, it really becomes desperate."
Wellington City Mission was continuing to operate the social supermarket, which it had not had during last year's level 4 lockdown.
"About five months ago we opened a social supermarket, and during lockdown this year we've attempted to maintain that dignity of choice," he said.
"It's closed to the public, but when people ring in for food requirements we do an online shopping exercise with them and then we can deliver what they've ordered contact-less to their door."
He said the number of individuals they were servicing had increased "by a factor of somewhere between three and four."
"And because we're doing the shop for them we're actually giving out more food each time. In terms of normal times compared to now, it's significantly higher."
Another difficulty posed by lockdown was the challenges in housing vulnerable people.
"We have four transitional housing facilities that are operating and seeking to operate pretty tightly as a bubble," he said.
"That has its own challenges because there's more people that need accommodation as well, so it's trying to secure that existing bubble while also accommodating people that need support."
A challenge to this year's lockdown had also been the uncertainty around the length of the lockdown, which had been initially set for three days.
"A number of people were put into emergency housing throughout that time," he said .
"But none of those people seemed particularly enthusiastic about setting up any permanent arrangements because there was some uncertainty about the tenure of the lockdown."
"Now it's becoming clearer we're going to be locked down for some period of time. We are seeing some of the street-living community and some of the rough sleepers in a place of some strife, because obviously public facilities are closed and life's pretty difficult."
A caller to Newstalk ZB Wellington Mornings with Nick Mills earlier today was living in her car in Petone.
She reminded listeners that while homelessness may be less visible during lockdown, it was still present.
"I'm actually one of the lucky ones, I'm not sitting on a park bench with a tarpaulin," she said.
"When the lockdown happens it was two days before my next payday and I couldn't get to Kmart to get gas canisters. Soon I will run out."
Eldridge asked New Zealanders to be aware of friends and neighbours during lockdown, and refer them to services if needed.