We Have Moved!
The Food bank and youth offices have now moved to a new premises on 12 Newton Street, Auckland. The foodbank is up and running and will operate between 10am – 3pm from Monday to Friday.
On the 16th of September, the team bid farewell to the Kingsland building, a home for the Auckland Central Vinnies since 1991. The foodbank at the time supported 200 people, but over the years this has grown exponentially. Prior to the closure of the building earlier this month, the foodbank was supporting over 3,500 people. The larger premises offers more space which is suited for the storage and provision of bulk foodparcels. It also houses the youth team as well as a space for formation and gatherings. The new space now contains a dedicated reception and space for families and individuals who seek assistance.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul give thanks for this vision and how this journey has come to fruition. Special thanks is given to our donors: the East Auckland St Vincent de Paul and leaders; the Auckland governance board who have spent years working on the relocation plans; the volunteers who made a significant contribution in moving the centre; the Onehunga shop manager and driver who offered truck and transport services, and last but not least Mike Phillipe who sourced all the warehouse racking for the building. This new space means a new chapter in the unfolding of the St Vincent de Paul operations within Auckland. The Society gives thanks for all those who continue to support the movement.
Cans for Christmas Donate over 22,000 Cans to the Society of St Vincent de Paul
Moved by a call to bring the community together, Cans for Christmas established itself in 2015. It is a project that mobilises Catholic Schools around New Zealand to donate cans of food to their local St Vincent de Paul foodbank. The response was tremendous. More than 22,000 cans were collected within the space of a few weeks.
A number of the Vinnies Youth Team were onsite to help with sorting and packing the cans, all of which will be destined for families in need within their respective communities over the Christmas period. “Its a fantastic feeling to see how much all the schools donate… and what the people give”, says Billy Hadnett, team leader of Cans for Christmas. As a teacher, Billy knows all too well the reality of those who come to school hungry.
This can collection comes at a timely moment as the winter season proved demanding with relation to families seeking support from the foodbank. The ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal relies on the generosity and initiative of projects such as Cans for Christmas as this allows for stronger support networks to be established.
Nurturing Realities: Nutritional and Accessible Food
It is estimated that 1 in 100 people within New Zealand are homeless. Based on the street count, it’s estimated there were approximately 800 people unsheltered across Auckland on September 17, 2018. Approximately 48 percent of these people are wahine (women) who have no choice but to sleep it rough or live in precarious, transitional housing. There are countless stories of vulnerability, of suffering from harassment, violence and abuse. There is a pervading sense of anxiety for those who have no place to call home. Women often have to either keep to themselves, band together or have a partner to ensure their safety.
In response to the harsh realities of homelessness within Auckland, Vinnies have been meeting with Auckland Citymission leaders and members of Te Miringa Trust to roll out a new initiative to care for the wahine who need a safe space to relax, have dinner and just to be with other women.
As part of the new initiative, female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer each Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the hosting of an evening dinner.
The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and array of ingredients. A team of 6 Vinnies work diligently to prepare a hot scrumptious meal of “Fusion food”, designed to be nutritionous and filling.
Through a simple dinner, the these women are invited to form close connections with one another, to share experiences of women who have been there, done that; who know that connection building isn’t simply one and done. But rather, about nurturing healthy relationships and banding together as a family.
A Birthday Wish Come True
Recently, John Metherall – CEO of Catholic Social Services – came to visit the local Vinnies foodbank. Catholic Social Services is the social outreach agency of the Diocese of Auckland. They are committed to the positive wellbeing of those within the community. Alongside John was Helen Porter who gifted a donation of money that was fundraised on her birthday. The proceeds of this donation from Helen and all those who contribute to the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal will go towards ensuring meals are provided for families in need.