Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Govt pumps $10m more into food parcels, essential items distribution

The Government is injecting a further $10 million to help community organisations and providers distribute food and other essential items to people struggling due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

The boost comes after $7m in support was announced by Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni last month to help with the distribution of 60,000 food parcels and 10,000 wellbeing packs.

The latest fund will now help providers distribute more than 50,000 food parcels and 20,000 wellbeing packs.

Since August 17, a total of $69.31 million had been given to Government agencies and other organisations in the community.

"Our Government's response so far has recognised the need for whānau-centred support, iwi-led responses for their local community, as well as support for Māori, Pacific and disabled communities.

"In particular, the Pacific community in Auckland has been impacted by the current outbreak. They've made up over half of those having to self-isolate, resulting in entire support networks not being able to activate and mobilise."

Sepuloni said as well as working with and supporting Pacific social services, the fund would also help MSD-funded Community Connectors who were embedded with Pacific providers.

"This funding aims to support them and provide continuity through what is a challenging time, and as we stamp out Covid-19 from the community.

"The rapid public health response required to contain the spread of the Delta Variant of Covid-19 has highlighted the need to ensure an equally rapid welfare response."

The Food Secure Communities programme, funded in Budget 2020, had an initial budget of $32 million over two years.

That fund has seen 131 foodbanks, food rescue and community providers around New Zealand deal with increased demand, including access to stock.

Previous funds have also gone towards The New Zealand Food Network which was established to distribute surplus food from large scale food producers - over 3,100 tonnes of food and about 8,972,771 meals - through 50 food hubs.

Sepuloni said the Ministry would continue to work with key agencies across the system to ensure that support was going to populations with the greatest need.

"We're committed to making sure our response to Covid-19 is rapid, co-ordinated and efficient, and ensuring people and our communities aren't carrying the burden of lockdown alone." Sepuloni said.

If you are unable to afford food:

• Test your eligibility for assistance from MSD via MyMSD or by calling 0800 559 009,

• If you need food, your local foodbank may be able to help,

• If your need is urgent or you are unable to access other arrangements, contact your local Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group.

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