National | Food Parcels

Former All Black backs campaign to get more food bank donations

The New Zealand Food Network has revealed a 20% increase in demand for food support in the last six months of this year, compared with the same time last year.

Now it’s running a new 12-month campaign, Pitch In, calling on businesses and individuals to donate enough food, money or essential items to fill Eden Park with meals for people in need virtually, and it has the backing of former rugby world champion and All Black Piri Weepu (Ngāi Tahu, Whakatōhea, Niue).

Every time the pitch at Eden Park is filled, the NZFN will be able to provide 100,000 meals to those in need.

The demand for food support has increased since Covid-19 times, particularly in regions damaged by Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year.

Knowing all too well the struggles that whānau are going through to put kai on the table by helping put food packages together in Wainuiomata, Weepu says it was a “no-brainer” to join in on Pitch In.

“A lot of food gets wasted through supermarkets; old kai that’s been out on display they [supermarkets] will get rid of it. So sometimes [NZFN] will go and take it and still give it out because whānau will know how to use kai. Obviously, like bananas that are almost rotten, there’s no harm in making a banana cake or bread to help support the whānau.

“My community, Wainuiomata, had a few whānau that were struggling. To see this on a higher level, it’s awesome to give back and help those that are in need of tautoko. I’m very grateful that the Food Network asked me to be an ambassador.”

Public Interest Journalism