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Volunteers at a Sikh temple in Auckland will be distributing thousands of free food parcels and delivering food to people going hungry in the lockdown.

About 1100 food parcels were being prepared and those needing them are being asked to collect them from the Takanini Sikh Gurdwara every Friday and Monday between 4 and 6pm.

But a woman, who contacted the Herald about the exercise, said this "again shows the double standards" of the Government in allowing some to hand out food, but classifying greengrocers and butchers as non-essential services during the lockdown.

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About 1100 food parcels are being prepared and those needing them are asked to collect them from the Takanini Sikh Gurdwara Fridays and Mondays between 4 and 6pm. Photo / Dean Purcell
About 1100 food parcels are being prepared and those needing them are asked to collect them from the Takanini Sikh Gurdwara Fridays and Mondays between 4 and 6pm. Photo / Dean Purcell

Counties Manukau Police Inspector Jared Pirret said police were working closely with the temple around providing advice and education on the current alert level 4 requirements.

"We have since cited the temple's classification as an essential social service provider," Pirret said.

"Through our community networks, Counties Manukau Police are aware of a number of families in need of assistance.

"As one of our partners, we have asked the temple whether they would be able to assist some of those families with food parcels."

Pirret acknowledged the temple's willingness to assist in the request, but said police would not be participating in any deliveries.

Pirret said any group wanting to undertake work in this space "should seek advice from relevant authorities around the level 4 requirements" before doing it.

Supreme Sikh Council spokesman Daljit Singh said between 25 and 40 volunteers were helping to pack and distribute the food parcels.

Between 25 and 40 volunteers are helping to pack and distribute the food parcels. Photo / Dean Purcell
Between 25 and 40 volunteers are helping to pack and distribute the food parcels. Photo / Dean Purcell

"We have had many families contacting us, some have not been eating properly for days," he said.

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"A solo mum with three young kids who hasn't eaten called us one evening, and we sent someone to drop off food to her at 9pm that night."

He said as the Covid-19 lockdown goes on, an increasing number of people were struggling to get food on the table.

Volunteers also prepared up to 50 food parcels daily to drop off at homes of people who are either in self-isolation or did not have access to supermarkets.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Volunteers also prepared up to 50 food parcels daily for people in self-isolation or with no access to supermarkets. It is available to all ethnicities and nationalities. Photo / Dean Purcell
Volunteers also prepared up to 50 food parcels daily for people in self-isolation or with no access to supermarkets. It is available to all ethnicities and nationalities. Photo / Dean Purcell

"We don't ask any questions and it is open to all ethnicities and nationalities, if they need the food parcels, we will make sure they get them," Singh said.

The entire exercise is contactless, those collecting food at the temple are asked to drive in one gate, open their boot for a volunteer to load the parcel and then drive out through another gate.

The food parcels contain bread, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Auckland Council has also set up a food distribution centre at Spark Arena after receiving 3000 requests for help since announcing last week that it would be providing emergency food parcels on behalf of the Government.

Anyone who is unable to go to the supermarket, or is suffering financial hardship as a result of the lockdown, is eligible for the food parcels, which are being couriered to people's homes.

It is expected about 5000 parcels a week will be sent out once demand stabilises.

Last Monday, hundreds of food parcels were also handed out to Indian nationals stuck in the country by the Indian Consulate in Auckland.

Under a government-managed exit plan, thousands of foreigners stranded in New Zealand under the Covid-19 lockdown started leaving on Friday - but Indians have been unable to do so because of India's international flights ban.