Many people in Aotearoa are doing it tough right now. If you’re keen to lend a hand but aren’t sure how, here are a few places to start.
Covid outbreaks in the community and the alert level restrictions that come with them often exacerbate hardships felt by the most vulnerable members of our community. If you’re doing OK and are able to help others, here’s a brief round-up of ways to do so, listed alphabetically. For more tips on supporting charities during the pandemic, check out the government’s official charities page.
Auckland City Mission
Demand is for food parcels is “exceptionally high” but the Auckland City Mission can’t accept donations of food or goods from members of the public during lockdown – which makes cash donations even more important. Donate here.
The Catalytic Foundation has set up an impact fund to fundraise for frontline community charities supporting people in need during the pandemic. You can donate here.
Check in on your neighbours
Hopefully, last year’s lockdown spurred your street to keep in touch virtually – be it a Facebook group, WhatsApp chat or good old-fashioned phone tree. If not, it’s never too late to start. Isolated or vulnerable members of your local community may appreciate a groceries delivery, help with booking their vaccination, or just a chat.
Compassion Soup Kitchen (Wellington)
The soup kitchen switched to providing takeaway meals to those in need during levels four and three, including to people staying at homeless facility Te Paapori, to Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust and to Women’s Refuge, and it will continue doing takeaways at level two. You can donate money here.
Blood donation is an essential service and donor centres are safe to visit, but will be operating with extra precautions at higher levels. Book online to donate, or call 0800 448 325 if you’re unsure about your eligibility. Obviously, if you’re not feeling well or suffering any respiratory symptoms, please cancel your appointment. The NZ Blood Service recommends waiting 12 hours after receiving the Pfizer Covid vaccine before donating, or until there is no inflammation or infection at the vaccination site. FAQs here.
Through its 19for19 campaign, KidsCan is asking people to donate $19 for Covid-19. With schools and early childhood centres closed, the charity’s usual mahi of providing shoes, jackets, food and health products to kids has been unable to go ahead. Instead, they’re sending out food parcels to families in need in Covid-impacted areas. The original goal of 2,500 food parcels has been met, with more than $815,000 donated so far, but the need is still there, so KidsCan is calling for more donations. You can give here.
The Middlemore Foundation is working with community organisations and local marae to distribute care packs, including masks, sanitiser, blankets, nappies and toiletries, to families in need in South Auckland during alert level four. They’re seeking donations of between $20 and $100 to fund this – donate here.
In 2018, the Women’s Refuge found that over half of domestic violence survivors delayed leaving their situation because they were worried about their pets. A year later, the Pet Refuge was established, providing a cosy temporary home to pets that may be suffering cruelty as a result of domestic violence, or just need a place to stay while their owners find safety. You can donate here to give a pet a safe bed for a night and help make someone else’s tough decision that much easier.
New Zealand Red Cross provides a range of services during heightened alert levels, including Meals on Wheels, delivering medical supplies to vulnerable people, and translating Covid-19 resources into different languages. You can donate here, or, if you’re not in a high-risk category, register to volunteer here.
The Shakti Community Council is a non-profit organisation serving migrant and refugee women of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin living in New Zealand, empowering them to live a life free from fear and violence. You can donate here.
Student Volunteer Army
With more demand on online supermarket shopping, many people who rely on delivered groceries have struggled to keep their regular slots. The Student Volunteer Army has a nationwide shopping and delivery service for those who aren’t able to leave the house. You can join their ranks, donate or access their services here.
The Aunties (Auckland)
The Aunties provide sustained support for people who have been through trauma, particularly domestic violence. This work continues through lockdown, with aunties delivering groceries and supplies to vulnerable people. Donate money here.
Wellington City Mission
During lockdown, the mission has been delivering food and essentials to vulnerable people all over Wellington. You can donate money here.
Women’s Refuge provides services for women experiencing domestic violence including support lines, home visits and safe houses. Last year during our first national lockdown, the Women’s Refuge reported a 60% increase in demand across the country, with many refuges still coping with the aftermath of 2020 as the latest outbreak grew. You can donate to them here.
During lockdowns, Youthline sees a big increase in young people contacting its helpline in need of support. You can help them bolster that support by donating here.
FOOD BANKS & FOOD RESCUE
Food banks always face increased demand during lockdowns. In Auckland, it’s safer to donate money to your local food bank rather than goods, as many organisations have pivoted to providing shopping vouchers to reduce the risk of transmission. Please note that donations via a Givealittle page won’t reach the organisation until the following month so where possible, make donations directly to a bank account. Find your local food bank here. Services running food banks that have launched emergency appeals for donations during Auckland’s extended level four include Vision West, Presbyterian Support Northern, Vinnies Auckland and the Mangere Budgeting Services Trust.
Auckland food rescue group Fair Food distributed the equivalent of more than 75,000 meals to frontline charities over the first five days of the lockdown. Donate through the Givealittle page.
Kaibosh (Wellington) has been receiving and distributing food from a range of different sources over lockdown. You can donate money to them here.
KiwiHarvest rescues good food from supermarkets, wholesalers, producers, cafes, restaurants, and hotels they’re not able to sell, and redistributes it. They operate through all alert levels and have been accepting food in Auckland, Queenstown, Dunedin or Invercargill over lockdown. You can become a food donor, a sponsor or a recipient here.
Through the Kai Ika Project, the Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae whānau distributes fish heads and frames that would otherwise go to waste to families and community groups, and there’s been a surge in demand over lockdown. While recreational fishing is not happening under level four, commercial fishing companies provide regular supplies and they’re working hard to deliver contactlessly to people in need, as well as allowing contactless pickup at the marae. Donate money here.