Feed a Family Appeal Launch 2019
This winter, thousands of Auckland families have few options but to feed themselves on less than $7 a meal. The reality of paying rent, debts, power, transport and medical costs often mean there is little left to spend on food. Furthermore, this also means that a families’ access to enough good quality, nutritious food is severely restricted. In an effort to make an impact on these realities, the ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal is being launched within numerous local parishes around the Auckland central business district. This includes parishes such as St Patrick’s Cathedral and St John the Baptist Church. Through this appeal, it is hoped that there grows a greater awareness around food insecurity within New Zealand, namely Auckland. The funds collected will be destined for families in need so that they do not need to worry about where their next meal comes from.
From Funding to Food: A Journey of Accompaniment
A recent study from the Ministry of Health finds that almost one in five children live in a severely to moderately food-insecure household. As wider statistics about the situation of families within low socio-economic areas suggest, this means that more and more of Aotearoa’s families are struggling to put enough food on the table. Inadequate incomes predominantly cause people to select and consume low-cost foods, which tend to be energy dense and poor in nutrition. It should also be noted that the ability to acquire personally acceptable foods which meet cultural needs in a socially acceptable way becomes problematic in the wake of wider costs such as health, education and so on.
Through the generous donations of individuals and collectives towards to the ‘Feed A Family’ Appeal, this has allowed for a greater support of those living in food-insecure situations. Many students connected to the Society of St Vincent de Paul have been pivotal in rolling out feeding programmes at the local Foodbank. These programmes consist of regular bulk meal preparation after school, using an array of ingredients including meat and vegetables. Students see firsthand where the donations go, and play a significant part in cooking the meals. It also provides an invaluable time for team building and putting into practice the skills they learn within schools. The meals are then packaged and later distributed to families in need within the community. An important aspect of these feeding programmes are that they are made from scratch. The Society recognises the dignity of families and the importance of providing quality meals that meet nutrition needs.
The donations towards ‘Feed a Family’ are therefore important as they allow for the provision of a consistently wholesome and healthy diet. While these meals provide short-term, immediate relief to people; the Society of St Vincent de Paul continue to walk alongside these families in care and support. To address food poverty in Auckland, there continues to be awareness programmes within schools as well as through the launching of the appeal within parishes. What remains clear throughout is that the redistribution of food and funds are no substitute for the structural changes that come from understanding the needs of families within Aotearoa. Herein lies the invitation to learn from and accompany those who go without.