Catholic social agencies’ extraordinary Covid-19 support

Catholic social agencies have been helping women’s refuges, foodbanks, whanau in remote regions and many others with a $25,000 special Tindall Foundation grant aimed at relieving some of the hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

Volunteers loading up food parcels for delivery.

Siobhan Dilly, executive officer of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, said Catholic agencies have been distributing the extra Tindall funds through organisations that work directly with families badly affected by the pandemic.

In Auckland diocese, for example, the Catholic Caring Foundation put $10,050 of the Tindall grant towards $12,000 in total for 600 families in isolated rural districts. Many of their elderly members were unable to make a very long journey during the lockdown to buy affordable food in a distant town.

“A community group of 12 churches, six marae, a local school and local health officials were able to identify 600 residents in need of food assistance,” Ms Dilly said. “They determined an action plan for getting food to the community when local food bank suppliers were unable to operate.”

Common Good Foundation in Hamilton diocese added $3575 to $3425 of the Tindall grant to give $1000 to each of seven women’s refuges around the diocese.

This response from one refuge was typical: “Thank you for reaching out to support our refuge with the work we are doing in our community. This will go a long way in helping the vulnerable whanau we work with. Without the generosity and kindness of people such as yourselves, our struggle to continue to help our women, children and their whanau would be an even greater one.”

Other recipients of the special grant included Dunedin St Vincent de Paul (foodbank top-ups, $800); Invercargill St Mary’s parish (grocery vouchers for refugees, $800); Catholic Social Services Christchurch (phone and video family counselling during the lockdown, $3500); and five Wellington archdiocese communities and organisations in the Hutt Valley, Wellington and Westport ($740 each, for uses as varied as mobile phone top-ups and help with food).

“The bishops and Catholic community are immensely grateful for the additional $25,000 donated by the Tindall Foundation to support these families impacted by Covid-19,” said Ms Dilly.

The special grant was on top of the substantial annual Tindall Foundation grants to Catholic social agencies through the NZCBC.

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