Food chain links unbreakable through lockdown

20 May 2020

Food provision became critical during Covid-19 lockdown, so charities around the city worked together to deliver record numbers of meals while also observing the strict safety guidelines in place – and continue to do so now.

Image of Kaibosh team social distancing on site during Covid-19 lockdown

Wellington City Council proudly supports Kaibosh Food Rescue, which had to shut its doors at their Kāpiti and Hutt sites, putting their 270+ volunteer programme on hold. It still managed to rescue food and operate within the guidelines with a skeleton crew of permanent staff and volunteers in their central Wellington site though.

“As with many organisations, this has been a really difficult time for us but we have made it through fairly unscathed and have been able to provide over 52,000kg of food, or the equivalent of 148,600 meals, to organisations from our Hopper St base during the stages of lockdown,” says General Manager Matt Dagger.

“In the middle of lockdown, we also launched our rebranded 'Give a Meal in May' fundraiser, encouraging people to give what they’d spend on a meal out. This fundraiser has been extremely well supported, reflecting the kindness, generosity and spirit of Wellingtonians.”

Kaibosh provides food to soup kitchens, marae, foodbanks, residential facilities and other essential social service providers. Its volunteer base has returned, but the demand for food hasn’t decreased.

The Compassion Soup Kitchen was one of the few food facilities to remain open through lockdown as it was deemed an essential service to provide kai for Wellington’s most vulnerable people – and the whānau got the message that the city cares about them, says Compassion Soup Kitchen Manager Gary Sutton.

“Our first priority was the safety of our community, so strict hygiene and health and safety procedures were put in place. Our second priority was to feed our community, and we did that serving an average of around 1100 meals per week through a takeaway service.

“The need is still there in Level 2, so while we can operate with a bit more freedom, the numbers requiring our help is still high, so we encourage people to dig deep and donate where and when they can.”

Council’s Community Services team provided support, PPE, advice and help as and when needed to numerous organisations in the capital, ensuring vulnerable communities were looked after, says Mayor Andy Foster.

“During the Covid-19 lockdown food provision became essential as demand grew quickly, but safety measures meant fewer volunteers, and those charities that could remain open had to adapt to observe the strict guidelines in place – but it didn’t deter them from keeping people fed and housed.

“There have been many heroes through this difficult time – and we’re proud supporters of these organisations who are the ultimate crusaders for the more vulnerable members of our city.”

Kaibosh:

  • Pre lockdown = 3 bases, 270 volunteers, 14 'active' staff across three sites, 92 recipient charities
  • Level 4 = 1 base, 7 'active' staff on site, 2 volunteers, 32 recipient charities
  • Level 3 = 11 'active' staff , 2 volunteers, 35 recipient charities 

During Lockdown:

  • 52,020kg of food rescued and redistributed = 148,629 meals  
  • Days not operating = 1 (Good Friday) 
  • Disposable masks used = 864
  • Boxes of gloves used = 12
  • Litres of hand sanitizer used = 11 
  • Major fundraising campaigns rebranded and launched = 1

Link to donate page: https://www.kaibosh.org.nz/donate-now/

Link to Give a Meal in May: https://www.kaibosh.org.nz/give-a-meal-in-may/

The Soup Kitchen:

  • Pre-lockdown = 2 meals a day in their dining room, served an average of 660 meals per week
  • Alert Levels 4, 3, and 2 = 1 take away meal served per day, serving an average of around 1100 meals per week
  • Days operating per week: Now operating 7 days a week. Before lockdown closed on Sundays.
  • Meals served during level 4 = 5,310
  • Meals served during level 3 = 2,181

Link to donate page: https://soupkitchen.org.nz/donate/