Food bank partners
This week has been a special week for my organisation the Manukau Urban Maori Authority (MUMA).
On Wednesday we became the first agency to partner with the Auckland City Mission with the opening of a community food bank at our Nga Whare Waatea marae in Mangere.
The initiative is a response to the findings by the mission's Family 100 Research Project which talks about what happens when the unexpected happens and people run out of options.
The Family 100 study's main aim is to increase public awareness about how New Zealanders are affected by low incomes, unemployment and shortage of food and housing.
One of the other points that came from the study was that some people's lives are a mess because they have to deal with a number of different agencies to look after their families' needs.
In fact it is ridiculous the way some families have to jump through hoops and talk with different providers just so they can get support to feed their families.
We at MUMA have been aware of this type of situation for many years so I was pleased to see that the research the city mission carried out had confirmed what we've always known.
The city mission operates more than 70 food banks in Auckland but with this being the first partnership initiative, families will be getting more than just food parcels every week.
My organisation MUMA is the biggest provider of Whanau Ora services in South Auckland.
We have more than 600 families on our books and Whanau Ora is about whanau taking more control of their lives, particularly whanau who are struggling to make ends meet.
Our social workers get the family to develop a plan and support them in their efforts to improve their circumstances. Often a simple plan in terms of how to pay their bills can be life-changing.
Sometimes the man of the house doesn't worry about paying the rent or feeding the kids and is too busy at the pub so a plan for the family becomes essential.
The Whanau Ora way has allowed us to introduce these types of plans.
The addition of a food bank to our services will help immensely.
Our marae is in Mangere and people will be able to access a number of services under one umbrella - a one stop shop for families is something we've always wanted.
I hope our partnership with the city mission turns out to be a long and fruitful one.
Food bank launched P5