As the Covid-19 alert system has moved to level four Whanganui agencies and individuals have mobilised to support people isolating at home.

Agencies say panic buying at supermarkets has depleted their food parcel stocks and they are in need of supplies.

"We have hardly any toilet paper on our shelves," City Mission manager Karrie Brown said.

"Things like soap, toothpaste and non-perishable foods are very welcome as well as potatoes, carrots and green vegetables."


The City Mission does not have a service delivery agreement or contract with Government and relies entirely on donations and grants.

Donations can be left at 7 Park Pl where there are signs on the door to steer people in the right direction and instructions for keeping safe distance.

People needing help with food parcels should call 021 185 1210 for a phone interview before going to the centre.

The Koha Shed has been assembling care packages for home delivery.

"With colder weather coming and children staying home, families are needing more warm clothing, blankets and household items," manager Sherron Sunnex said.

"We have been working with other agencies to help support the over 70s and provide things they need as well."

Sherron Sunnex, one of the people who helped start up the Koha Shed. Photo / file
Sherron Sunnex, one of the people who helped start up the Koha Shed. Photo / file

The Age Concern Whanganui office is closed but the agency is still providing online and phone support as well as care packages.

"The support from the Whanganui community has been excellent," manager Michelle Malcolm said.


"Central City Pharmacy donated items for care packages being distributed to older people in our community, who have no families or limited support in our community.

"Sherron called to say that the Koha Shed have donated items that could be suitable for older people as well."

Whanganui has gone into lockdown and the town is very quiet. Video / Bevan Conley for the Whanganui Chronicle

The Koha Shed has been providing emergency food parcels but Sunnex said there will be no opportunities to raise funds to buy groceries for the next month.

"We have had to limit our food parcels and we have been providing non-contact deliveries but we have had to stop those now.

"The Koha Shed is closed until further notice but we hope to be able to assist people again once we are cleared to to so."

Meanwhile, Whanganui East residents will be able to order nourishing meals from their local Four Square with no delivery costs.

Eastbrook Four Square owners Nick and Jenna Gordon want to look after their regular customers and other locals during the isolation period.

"We have been especially busy this week as local people are either avoiding the big supermarkets or coming here to get things they couldn't buy elsewhere."

The roast dinner meals which are normally purchased in store can be bought by phone and delivered to addresses in the Whanganui East area.

"We want to provide the delivery service for free to people who buy our meals so we need to confine it to the Whanganui East area."

Eastbrook Four Square is classified as a supermarket rather than a dairy and Gordon said their meals meet food safety standards.

Gordon said he welcomes inquiries from other retailers or agencies who may be able to collaborate. He can be contacted on 06 343 9041.

Sharon Semple, of The People's Centre, said the agency has closed its office doors and will provide support by phone while the Covid-19 alert level 4 is in place.

The agency supports a number of people who are without accommodation or living in temporary and emergency housing.

"Three of our clients were housed yesterday which was a huge relief," Semple said.

"We do have people living in overcrowded situations and it will be a stressful time for families with children being at home during the next four weeks."

Family support service Jigsaw Whanganui has also closed its physical office but executive officer Tim Metcalfe said staff are ready to offer support in other ways.

"While our physical office is closed, all our Jigsaw Whanganui professional staff are well geared up and connected to be engaging via various remote channels with colleagues, families, whānau and others seeking assistance," he said. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

"Our full agency team will be connecting every morning via Zoom and we are scheduling various other online supervision and meetings. There is massive distress out there among whānau and families."

Metcalfe said social workers will maintain contact with the 140 families currently receiving support from the service.

Information and tips will be going up daily on theJigsaw Whanganui facebook page.

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