Grassroots initiative thrives2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
A grassroots initiative to feed and provide support for those in need continues to thrive. Onehunga Embracing Families (OEF) was founded two years ago by local women, Raewyn Graham and Lou Anderson, who saw a need for kai support among those in the community struggling to make ends meet.
Since then, more people have put up their hands to help, and local organisations and members of the public have contributed by donating goods and services to the movement which continues to thrive.
The OEF crew have now moved from the Onehunga Trident carpark to a sheltered venue at the 312 Hub. They are there every Saturday morning, from 10am till 2pm, and people can enjoy a free hot meal, find free clothing or food parcels, or seek advice on local services from one of the volunteers.
Fred Passi has jumped on board to become part of the OEF team, and he is constantly inspired by the positive work going on around him. “Raewyn and Lou planted a seed, and it has grown into what we see here today. They simply saw a need and took action. We understand that the struggle is real for people, and some of us know what it’s like to have nothing. We can relate to every person who comes through those doors,” he says.
The team is grateful to receive weekly food donations from Kiwi Harvest which include meat, fresh vegetables and packaged goods; bread is kindly supplied by Countdown Onehunga. Raewyn is thankful for the additional resources, and she’s happy to have a safe place to reach out to more people in need. “Before we received help from Kiwi Harvest, OEF was self-funded, so everything came out of our own pockets. It’s such a huge boost to have them on board now. Our community of friends look forward to coming together each week, because for some, it’s the only time they can get out and enjoy the company of others,” she says.
The group are seeking additional volunteers who aren’t afraid of hard work to help set up, serve food, pack down and talk to guests. If you are available to help for the whole morning until 2pm every Saturday, Raewyn will be happy to provide a good character reference for your resume or CV.
They are also accepting donations of unwanted items in good condition to pass on to others – food, clothing, shoes, and blankets. If you need a food parcel, you must be present on site. Please bring your own clean reusable shopping bag.
To donate or volunteer, join their Facebook group, Onehunga Embracing Families In Need, to send a message.
312 Hub, 1 Paynes Lane Onehunga – Saturday 10am-2pm
(Fred Passi, Aunty Pearl Tai, Raewyn Graham, Aunty Julz Paekau, Lou Anderson, and Maatua Sidney Aroha.)