Waikato people’s need for help continues despite a return to work for some today and New Zealand’s move to a new-look lockdown at Covid-19 Alert Level 3.
A local website, Here to Help U, is a new, community support network where any member of the public can quietly ask for help, and individuals, families, businesses and organisations can offer assistance.
It is currently offered to Hamilton people but has plans to expand to the Waikato. Meantime, Waikato people can Freephone 0800 800 405, the support service established by the Waikato Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group, available from 7am to 7pm daily.
The Waikato service provides food, groceries, medication and other household goods and services.
Here to Help U was set up by a collection of Hamilton-based community service providers who banded together as the country went into lockdown.
People can use the online form to request frozen meals and food parcels or other services including mental health support and safe social connection. Individuals, groups and businesses can also offer their voluntary services via the website.
Ruth Barrowclough, manager of the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank (HCCFB), said Here to Help U had helped support agencies reach people in need after some initial interruption to services in the early stages of the lockdown. Requests were again coming in from its constituent agencies, via Facebook and directly by phone. The Foodbank was consistently providing 30 food parcels a day but had done up to 50, she said.
The HCCFB usually provides food parcels to agencies such as Anglican Action, Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army and Desert Spring Community Centre who handle requests from those in need but now it was delivering direct to people’s homes, Barrowclough said.
In another change, student volunteers had replaced the older volunteers who usually staffed the foodbank but who were at greater risk of contracting Covid-19, she said.
To donate, the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank Trust’s ASB bank account number is: 12-3122-0122595-01 When donating follow up with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so that you can be emailed a receipt.
As well, The Foodbank Project by the Salvation Army enables donations of anything from a single can of beans to a week’s supply of food for a family at the click of a computer mouse.
Violence rises in times of great stress and families confined together for long periods of time can be a trigger. Waikato Women’s Refuge – Te Whakaruruhau helps more than 6000 women and children affected by domestic violence every year.
- In other reporting, Food parcels in the thousands to Hamilton during Covid-19, reports the Waikato Times.