Coronavirus Covid-19 Delta outbreak: Builder gives $100,000 to fund food parcels

By Kirsty Wynn

A hero builder who helped rebuild houses after a tornado in South Auckland is helping again - this time feeding struggling families.

Fijian Indian businessman Sulendra Raju has helped raise more than $100,000 to supply 2200 food parcels for those in need in south Auckland.

Sulendra 'Raj' Raju's generosity has seen homes repaired and people fed this year. Photo / Dean Purcell

Known in his community as Raj, the owner of All in One Builders went to the rescue when a tornado ripped through Papatoetoe in June this year.

For the past four days, Raju and other business associates distributed around 800 food parcels a day from his base in Papatoetoe.

He got the support of dozens of other groups, across all cultures, in the South Auckland business community.

"We just wanted to help anyone in the community who is struggling," Raju said.

"There are a lot of people here who need help."

The generous food packs contained fresh fruit and vegetables, cereals, non-perishable groceries, and fresh chicken.

Raju bought items on special and in bulk so each pack cost $50 but included around $90 worth of food.

Raju is today's Lockdown Hero.

Krish Naidu, President of the Fiji Girmit Foundation said Raju's generosity had extended further than the Fijian community.

"Many community organisations and individuals across all cultures have benefited from the work he has done," Naidu said.

Fresh chicken, fruit and vegetables, as well as packs of toilet paper, were added to each food parcel. Photo / Supplied

"I am very proud of him as he is a very humble and generous man, he is always doing great things in the community."

Naidu said lockdown in Auckland had a knock-on effect for family members in Fiji.

"It's been a tough time for our Fiji community back home as well due to Covid, initiatives like this are even more important," Naidu said.

"There are people in Auckland who have families in Fiji to support and their own income here has been impacted."

Builder Sulendra Raju raised $100,000 to put together 2000 food parcels for the south Auckland community. Photo / Supplied

Naidu said Raju had gone above and beyond for the community at his own expense.

When Raju saw the extent of damage from the June tornado he went out with a team of his builders armed with tarpaulins, timber, and nail guns to cover people's open roofs.

In total, Raju and his team used more than 100 tarpaulins to cover about 70 houses - at a combined cost of about $20,000 to his business.

He said the work, just like the distribution of food parcels, was something he was used to doing at home in Fiji.

"Whenever there is a natural disaster in Fiji we just help."

"This is the same."

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