Poor nutrition contributes to significant mental health impacts, particularly for children in the early years of their development. While there has been a commendable government commitment to improving mental health services and its access across the country, poverty through food insecurity has notable implications. Those who through no fault of their own rely on cheap ‘filler’ foods often find that their food lacks nutrients, are high in fat and in salt. This is significant as it often results in a higher risk of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. Many families experience the reality of this when they are unable to make ends meet and provide sufficient food for meals. The Society of St Vincent de Paul are no stranger to the people who come through seeking support at the local foodbank. There have been stories of struggle, anxiety and hope for the unknown – particularly at where their next meal would come from. In the past year, the Kingsland foodbank assisted over 3000 people with food support. Each and every individual who waits in queue are part of a wider family. There are often children brought to the forefront. Sometimes they are waiting at home with a significant other, but often they are in the queue with their caregiver.
August saw the launching of the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal within several other parishes within Auckland. Many parishioners have since heeded the call to support local families. The Society of St Vincent de Paul would like to thank Fr Iosefo Timo and the parishioners of St Joseph’s Parish Grey Lynn, The Good Shepherd Parish Balmoral as well as St John Vianney Parish in Hillsborough. The youth of St John Vianney parish kindly led a bake sale fundraiser to help with the appeal, providing a space of hospitality and awareness for wider needs within the community. The funding from this appeal continues to be used in support of local families affected by food insecurity.
Students from St Mary’s College also contributed to the cause through joining the family feeding programme. With the assistance of staff and facilities at Pompalier Centre in Ponsonby, these young women were able to whip up a meal from scratch. Other colleges throughout Auckland continue to gather in their respective communities after school to do the same.