Council helps cater to growing food demands

4 May 2020

Since the lockdown, the need for food bank services and distribution across Wellington has increased dramatically – and Wellington City Council’s Community Services team is helping organisations meet those demands.

Image of team at the Compassion Soup Kitchen preparing food packages

Before COVID-19 made its impact felt, the Wellington City Mission would deliver around 80 food parcels to people in need each week, but that number has climbed to around 250 since lockdown started.

To help meet the high demand, Community Services quickly mobilised “Team Food” to support the food security aspect of Council’s COVID-19 welfare response.

Wellington City Mission is just one of the organisations they’re supporting, and since establishing the team, they’ve organised the delivery of over 350 crates of fresh fruit and vegetables to them.

“As well as supporting Wellington City Mission, we are also organising a fresh produce delivery from regional farmers for The Salvation Army, Student Volunteer Army and St Vincent de Paul,” says Team Food’s Brittany Rymer.

“We connect people with a food security organisation that can meet their needs, and we’re also looking at how we can continue supporting these organisations as we move down alert levels.”

The Compassion Soup Kitchen is the only organisation offering hot meals to Wellington’s homeless population. Their newly adapted and COVID-compliant takeaway service has increased from an average of about 70 per day to about 130 meals a day.

The Soup Kitchen is also preparing and delivering meals to other agencies in the homeless network. These include DCM, the Women’s’ Refuge, Wellington Night Shelter and Women’s Night Shelter. Their service is now extended to Sunday to step in as other agencies no longer deliver a Sunday service.

Council is supporting emergency food welfare organisations in other ways too, says Community Services Manager, Jenny Rains.

“We are funding increased food supply lines and promoting messaging to the public about how emergency food services can be accessed. We are also supplying these organisations with appropriate PPE and health and safety guidelines advice.

“We’ve also developed a Welfare Map to help the public find services and agencies that can support them, and we have a team who can provide advice who are just a phone call away on 04 499 4444.”

Food rescue is still operating throughout Wellington City and access to food is a key component in the city’s response to need.

One of those is Council supported Kaibosh, which is experiencing an increased demand for food and needs all the help they can for their ‘Give a Meal in May’ fundraising campaign, says Mayor Andy Foster.

“This year Kaibosh is asking us to donate what we’d usually spend on a meal out to help put a meal on a table for people who need it. Just $20 can provide 29 meals to those struggling – which is more than usual during this crisis.

“So we encourage you to show the generous, kind, and supportive spirit of Wellington by digging deep to support this important campaign.”

Financial donations are the best way to help others in need. You can donate online via bank transfer at:

Wellington City Mission: https://wellingtoncitymission.org.nz/want-to-help/donate/

Kaibosh: https://www.kaibosh.org.nz/donatefunds/

Kiwi Community Assistance: https://www.kca.org.nz/help-us/donate-funds