Feed a Family

August Highlights

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. 

St Mary’s College students preparing food parcels

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. 

Feed a Family


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.