The pandemic has revealed our food relief support system is in hiccup-mode. It splutters forward – but we have worked hard to fix it!
More than a quarter of families with children are food insecure, for many and varied reasons.
The Covid-19 pandemic has created new types of food insecurity. These are focused not on food supply, but rather on the indirect effects of lockdowns, mobility restrictions and social distancing measures on household purchasing power and access to food. The loss of jobs and working hours has gone hand in hand with an increase in levels of poverty and as a result, on food security.
Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury believes that solving hunger is not just about providing more food, it’s also about providing the right food, so we can combat the real problem of nutrition insecurity.
Food insecurity is about providing enough food to those in need. But its more than handing out a loaf of bread. It’s also about Nutrition, and Nutrition insecurity is about providing the right food to prevent or alleviate diet-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and obesity. Hundreds of Kiwis suffer every day from nutrition insecurity as a result of hunger, making them highly vulnerable to diet-related diseases.
With studies showing that diet-related diseases like diabetes and obesity are driving the highest hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19, it is now more important than ever to address nutrition insecurity head-on.
In communities that struggle with low-income and nutrition insecurity from some urban areas to the more rural towns, settlements where people have put down their whanau roots, to some population groups, poverty and nutrition insecurity are the only things they have in common and yet the way poverty and nutrition insecurity look, and feel is very different from community to community.
For this reason, Foodbank Aotearoa does not believe in setting up shop in the place someone else calls home to bring ‘our solutions’ to ‘their problems.’ That’s why we rely on working with talented Community-Based Organizations that are dedicated to solving the nutrition insecurity suffered by low-income community members in the places they both call home.
Since 2017 Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury has partnered with such Community-Based Organizations by bringing powerful proven concepts to co-design program approaches that work best for their community. Locals helping locals – empowering them and driving community self-esteem levels higher … … a more wholistic approach. This is what will drive our economic well-being as a nation.
Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury operates in accordance with a set of core values that have been a part of our culture from our earliest days. They were first introduced and consistently nurtured over the years by our founders Janice and John Milligan together with the Board of Trustees.
We are inclusive in who we are and who we serve, in what we do and how we do it.
We are honest, transparent, reliable, and accountable.
· Dignity and Respect
For us its Respect Irrespective. We are defined by how we treat everyone, at all times and in all circumstances.
We love doing what we do and we do it without being egocentric. Food relief is not a competition.
We strive to be the best we can be to ensure the highest level of personal and professional success.
We support one another and know that impact is achieved through teamwork, at home, and in the field.
We embrace the fact that the need is great and the journey, long; we work hard and with humility.
As with most organizations, we have changed and adapted a great deal over the past few years especially after 2020 arrived. Yet our core values have not changed— they have been our North Star, pointing the true direction of our Waka - the rock upon which everything else is built – a powerful symbol of our culture and our heritage.
Diversity has been so foundational to who we are that we never felt the need to call it out. The very reason for our existence is providing access and affordability of food to the needy, at risk and the underserved communities — communities that are often disproportionately home to people of diverse ethnicities. COVID 19 has made abundantly clear something we have known for a long time — such communities are disproportionately deprived of healthy food making them vulnerable to diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease.
Make no mistake about it. Diversity and respect for the individual irrespective has always been an implied core value of Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury. Now we are making it explicit. We are putting out the call for everyone to follow with us as our talented board and team evolve over time to reflect the diversity of the community members who participate in our programs.
Our Vision for Change in this Pandemic Era
Driven by their shared conviction that people in poverty want to feed their families well, Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury was designed to be innovative thereby always seeking and offering an opportunity to assist people in need and in their moving forward.
We believe that Foodbank ANZ / Foodbank Canterbury is a leader in innovative solutions that make healthy food choices happen for those we serve.
Our programs such as Food for Hope and the Hunger Action Teams project are some of the most innovative and customizable in the space. For example, we pioneered HATs during the 2020 COVID wave to fill a gap in the more traditional food relief sector to meet the unique needs of individual communities.
This in turn makes our programs more impactful.
The data our programs and beneficiary partners generate, provide powerful outcomes and stories that support our advocacy to positively impact and effectively address not just food insecurity but nutrition insecurity.
© 2021 Foodbank ANZ John Milligan