Photo Credit: War Cry, The Salvation Army
How many people needed your support during lockdown?
We saw demand for food parcels skyrocket, increasing by 346 percent. At its peak, we were giving out about 5,500 parcels per week. In total we donated over 30,000 food parcels to more than 21,000 households across New Zealand during lockdown.
Did you notice anything about those seeking help?
Many of them had never needed our help before. Some didn’t know where to go because they had never been in that situation.
It was heart-warming to see The Salvation Army family work together to do whatever was needed to support Kiwis.
Frontline staff were deployed to work in food welfare, Family Store managers stacked food shelves, youth workers shifted pallets, accountants packed food parcels and Family Store trucks became a food delivery service. It was a huge team effort.
Are there any specific stories that stand out?
We saw one Mum visit us after both her and her partner were unable to work and found that they were not eligible for the wage subsidy.
A friend of theirs mentioned The Salvation Army had a text line for people needing food support and within 24 hours we were able to get a food parcel with everything she needed to her door.
Another example is a single Dad who received a food parcel who was almost in tears because it meant he could continue to provide for his kids.
The elderly were also another major group of new people needing our support. Children were worried about their parents in remote locations so we got local community members to check in and do their groceries for them.
Was there anything The Salvation Army needed to do differently?
Each region found creative ways to meet people’s needs. In Porirua, bread and vegetables were put outside the Salvation Army office every morning for about 80 families to drop by and collect.
People were grateful for these types of initiatives because the emotional pressure of asking for food makes it difficult for many people.