Community organisations in the Wakatipu area are amongst the latest recipients of a grant from Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust who are distributing funds in support of combating the growing issue of food insecurity in the South Island. Basket of Blessings, Happiness House and Wanaka-based charity, Community Networks are amongst the latest recipients.
Grants are received in the form of supermarket gift cards and charities will distribute them to people in need throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021.
The grant came about when Covid-19 hit New Zealand shores in early 2020. Foodstuffs, whose brands include PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square, Gilmours and Trents quickly set up an emergency fund distributing $1.3 million in emergency funds to foodbank and food rescue organisations.
When the borders closed, incomes were instantly affected and with no way of knowing how long the crisis would last, many people struggled to pay their bills and keep food on the table. Around the country once bustling centres with international visitors changed dramatically when the tour buses and campervans left.
Following the distribution of all the emergency funds, the Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust proactively reached out to its members and employees and collected a further $600,000 to be distributed to local charities who help feed South Islanders in need.
“With our supermarkets throughout South Island, we’re a part of almost every community. The impact of Covid-19 here is widespread and varied. When we asked what we could do to make a difference, the feedback from our City Missions, food banks and food rescue partners was overwhelmingly by assisting local community organisations to help those most in need," said Justin Smith, Chair of Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust.
New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square stores are all 100% locally owned and operated, and proud to have been here for New Zealand since 1922. Covid-19 has strengthened Foodstuffs’ resolve to help look after New Zealand and has seen the introduction of HereforNZ, which represents Foodstuffs’ ongoing commitment to its four social promises: create meaningful work, provide sustainable leadership, deliver access to healthy affordable food and support local communities to thrive.
The current focus for #HereforNZ is supporting organisations throughout New Zealand that specialise in helping the most vulnerable in our communities to access healthy and affordable food in 2020, and beyond.
“We’re incredibly thankful to have received the grant from the Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust. The ramifications of Covid-19 on our wider community has meant that we’re distributing more food packages and gift hampers than ever before," said Lee Nicolson operations co-ordinator at Basket of Blessings.
During lockdown, Basket of Blessings went from preparing 200 meals a month for people in need to over 1,000 meals per week. At one point, 917 kilos of rescued food from restaurants forced to close during lockdown, were made into meals by the Basket of Blessings volunteers in only three days.
“Since April we’ve distributed more than 16,000 meals and are expecting to see more demand for our services this Christmas. This grant is going to enable us to further empower our community and will help to meet the increasing need here in the Wakatipu area,” added Nicolson.
Other local charities benefiting from the grant from Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust include Happiness House and Community Networks.
Happiness House provides a wide range of support for people living in the Wakatipu area and offer a free produce table every Friday contributed to by local Foodstuffs stores and their food rescue partners.
Community Networks in Wanaka are a local resource hub for social well-being services, governed by Alpine Community Development Trust. One area of focus is a community food bank, distributing food parcels to people struggling with food insecurity.
“Investing in and supporting local charity organisations is something we’re really passionate about. After the year we’ve all had here in Otago, it’s important we all rally together to support one another through this challenging time," said Warren McKenzie owner operator at New World Wakatipu.
With just under $300,000 already distributed from the $600,000 collected by the Foodstuffs (South Island) Community Trust, there’s still funding available for more charities and organisations who support their local communities affected by Covid-19 in South Island. Applications can be made here on the Foodstuffs South Island website.