While it seems the gap between the rich and the poor in New Zealand has widened over the years with an increase in homelessness and families struggling to meet the cost of living from week to week, there are church groups in West Auckland who have been reaching out to meet those in need on the regular for the last 3 years.
Naylar Uisa, her husband Flava (pictured above) and their 2 young sons started off driving around Auckland with pots of food for people they could see in need.
"We basically started off by cooking two big pots and driving around feeding anyone. We did that for a while then took it to the city, and then once our church found out they came on board. We may have started it, but it takes a family to move it and to grow it, and this is an amazing family" says Naylar.
On the 4th Saturday of every month you'll find them outside the CCF Op Shop on 17/19 Railside Ave in Henderson and then in Kelston on the first Tuesday of every month basically feeding and clothing the community. They network with other churches - KCC and Kelston Hub to reach out.
They had originally started in the city and were doing it there for over 2 years until they were told they needed a permit so they brought it out to West Auckland.
"When our church manager said that he was going to open up an op shop, we asked him if we could serve at the front and he said, “go for it”. We’re just here feeding the community, it’s for anyone. Sometimes you find students who can’t put food on the table; sometimes you have solo parents who are struggling, and sometimes people have rent and power going up. So we provide free clothes, shoes and things we can give out. We find homeless people, and people living in cars, all sorts. So we don’t label this, it’s for anyone in the community."
The initiative is not government funded, everything is donated from the community. Naylar said they have families with 5 kids and their Mum still brings in 2 big trays of baking to donate. This week Blue Rose Cafe in Sandringham also donated food.
"These are people who have just come to serve others; it’s all about community love and coming together."