New food hub opens in Onehunga2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Sporting their trademark blue tee shirts and big smiles, Vinnies Youth volunteers can often be seen around our community, providing food relief for people in need.
During the pandemic, requests for their services are in high demand, and volunteers at the new food hub in Onehunga are constantly packing and distributing a large number of food parcels.
Vinnies Youth is part of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, an international charity founded in the 19th century. They believe that human contact is at the heart of living out their Gospel, and that poverty can only be eradicated if people genuinely connect and care for each other.
The Auckland-wide volunteer organisation has over 1,200 members aged between 14-35 years. Getting together within their schools, universities, tertiary institutions, parishes and local communities, they arrange collections and food drives, and organise fundraising appeals. Over Christmas, Vinnies delivered meals to local families, along with children’s Christmas presents and food boxes.
Their food stock is purchased with the money received from grants and with funds raised through the Op Shop in Onehunga. The Ministry of Social Development provides partial funding and donates pallets of bulk food each week. They also run a Feed A Family appeal, giving donors the opportunity to contribute. The local Catholic churches also collect food on their behalf, and they receive help from Catholic schools across Auckland, which host annual food drives.
Meat, dairy, fresh fruit and produce are always in high demand, and Vinnies Auckland Hub general manager, Delphina Soti, says that these items can be seen as expensive luxuries to struggling families. “It’s amazing how this type of work opens up your world and changes you from inside out. On our busiest weeks we can distribute up to 1200 parcels, and each pack supports a family of four for seven days. The opportunity to walk alongside our whānau who need our support, it gives us a sense of purpose. Each individual and their collective story is important, so it is quite an honour,” she says.
To make a donation, you can do so online at svdpak.org.nz.
If you need to apply for assistance, you can also register on the website.
Alternatively, call 0800 680 090 or 815 6222. If the line is busy, leave a short message for the team to get back to you.