The Compassion Soup Kitchen in Wellington is seeking financial help from the public after it was forced to cancel its annual street appeal for a second year due to the pandemic.
Compassion Chief Executive Dr Chris Gallavin said the cancellation is ill-timed as the pandemic also escalated the need for their service.
“The street appeal is our biggest fundraiser of the year – it ensures we can continue to provide food for Wellington, but we had to prioritise the health and safety of our volunteers and wider community,” Dr Gallavin said.
He said they knew lockdowns brought increased demand, “but we did not imagine we’d be serving these many meals daily”.
Over the past 12 months, the soup kitchen served 31,588 meals in the capital, and set a record for the number of meals served, with 200 meals leaving the kitchen in one day.
However, this record was broken during this lockdown as they provided meals for individuals and other social service providers such as Wellington City Mission, Women’s Refuge, and Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.
“Within the first few days of Level 4, we were providing 230 meals a day, and now we are serving around 220 meals a day, seven days a week – quite possibly the most sustained demand we have seen in our 120-year history,” Dr Gallavin said.
Providing meals during the lockdown had its challenges, which included having to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines. The Soup Kitchen adapted by serving takeaway meals and running with two teams.
The Soup Kitchen is not rescheduling the street appeal, but instead is asking people to donate to them online.
“Our mahi is only made possible through the generosity of New Zealanders, and we need their support more than ever,” he said. “As an essential service, we are committed to serving nourishing meals to those that need it most as we usually would, so we ask that the public show us the same generosity they usually would, albeit online.”
People can donate to the Compassion Soup Kitchen’s annual appeal at: soupkitchen.org.nz/donate/donate-money