For Wāhine, by Wāhine
To bring about connection through face to face and a safe space for wahine to gather over the kitchen table for a home cooked meal. There is also the concern for food and nutrition security for all people, there has been a call for more effective and equitable food assistance; particularly for women in need within Auckland.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Auckland Citymission, Salvation Army amongst many other Charitable organisations works hard to achieve this through their different community programmes.
Last September ,the Vinnies collaborated with the 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 gather, have nutritious kai and have face to face conversations.
As part of the new initiative,the female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer alternatively every Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the preparing of and sharing of a three course evening dinner. The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and the food to prepare. Over the weeks the numbers of participants have steadily increased from four to around fourty. The feedback has been very positive and there is an expectation that these numbers will continue to increase steadily.
The simple act of sharing in a dinner breaks down barriers and provides an opportunity for new connections to be made. In this safe and positive environment, the Vinnies Youth Volunteers continue to nurture deep and meaningful relationships with those present. This weekly project will continue to unfold over the coming year.
Caring for Those Who are Incarcerated
Each year over nine thousand people pass through the Auckland prisons. Within Mt Eden Corrections Facility alone, there are currently 1,040 men who are incarcerated. This number is expected to increase in the coming months as the new prison wings are opened for use following a facility upgrade in 2019. Regardless of the number of those who reside in Auckland prisons, a group of volunteers have been faithfully leading ministry for the men. Among them are some of the Vinnies Youth collective who dedicate their Sunday mornings to leading a liturgy of the word. This involves a reflection on the Word for the day, as well as sharing in prayer and song.
The unfolding of this ministry is not possible without the guidance and support of the prison chaplaincy team at Mt Eden Corrections facility. This team has been pivotal in providing chaplaincy support for inmates; particularly when navigating times of family illnesses, deaths, crisis, tragedies and celebrations. Recently the Vinnies volunteers who lead ministry met with the chaplains to prepare for the year ahead. It is hoped that this team will continue to grow and live into the roles set before them.
Making Meals for the Multitudes: Youth Volunteers make Foodparcels for Families
Many people can go to the supermarket and purchase the food they need, but not everyone can get enough healthy food easily. This is part of the issue of food insecurity. As such, a sense of insecurity can vary from family to family. In response to a growing need for nutritionous and filling meals within Auckland, a diverse group of volunteers have been assisting the Society of St Vincent de Paul with making bulk food parcels. Some of the volunteers have also assisted in the making of labels, restocking the foodbank and filling up shampoo and detergent bottles destined for families.
This assistance comes at a welcome time as the number of families seeking assistance has all but decreased since the end of a busy Christmas season in 2019. The volunteers have been a source of energy and enthusiasm as they have seen and filled a need within the community. It is hoped that the parcels which they have made will go a long way to making sure that fewer families go hungry this month.