Being Innovative ... ... introducing HATs
People are hungry not because there isn’t enough food, but because they do not have the resources to access and afford enough food. Finding these people is possibly the greatest hurdle to overcome. Currently our social media brings in around 15 contacts per day up from maybe 8 per month pre COVID-19. One of our collaborative partners, He Waka Tapu is experiencing an even greater level – recently reported a23% increase in a single week!
It is a common misconception that only homeless people require food relief. However, the main recipients of food relief are generally individuals and families who have low incomes or are unemployed, not just those who are homeless. The face of hunger in NZ is diverse – it affects males, females, children, the elderly, single people and whanau, students, employed, unemployed and retired people. Food insecurity as we prefer to address it is not wealth-based.
When it comes to our children, the picture is even more alarming. Today it’s more likely for a child to have experienced food insecurity than an adult. The latest Government figures are stating that 1 in 5 NZ children are in poverty - and from that we can extrapolate, food insecure. (2018 NZ Child Poverty Monitor)
Especially in the current situation, people across our communities are confronted with the difficult decisions of paying for rent or heat instead of buying food. In the current pandemic crisis this is happening right here not just ‘on the street’ but on our street and it affects our neighbours, our colleagues, our friends and families – many for the first time – and it’s tough. Asking for food help is a loss of dignity.
Collecting and distributing nearly 1.8 million meals worth of food each year through a network of partner programs gives us a stark understanding of the everyday realities of food insecurity.
This perspective is critical to creating a complete picture of the issue and establishing a shared foundation on which anti-hunger organizations, policy makers, and the broader community can build effective solutions.
The current pandemic situation has made us at FBC realise this even more. Feeding the hungry is paramount. We are feeding people who have never put their hand up in need before … … and the scary thing is that we do not know where we are going. There is no template.
We are under no illusions about the challenge we are embracing.
Hunger Action Teams (HATs)are groups of individuals and organizations working in collaboration to solve hunger in a designated community. Members include individuals struggling with hunger, local businesses and food donors, town government, non-profit organizations, the faith community, the school system, and concerned individuals. They begin by asking, “Why are people hungry in our community and what can we do to make it better?”