Something that COVID-19 brought to our attention were the kai needs (food insecurity) of people in our neighbourhood. New Zealand has 1:5 children living in poverty1 and Randwick Park is one of those places where poverty is very real. In response to COVID, UNOH was able to create three local part time jobs, who we have called ‘Street Activators’.
Their job was, and continues to be, about building connections with people on our local streets and to discover what is happening with them. They have contacted over 600 homes and have created 17 street facebook pages. The Activators have been shocked by what they have seen, and have worked hard to stay in contact. During lockdowns, and only when needed, they delivered food parcels supplied by Manurewa Marae. One Activator mentioned, “People were asking me, not the normal ones, but families who had lost their jobs, families who were really struggling. They felt ashamed asking, so we had to learn how to deliver kai discreetly.” The Activators began to explore ways of distributing kai that still upheld the mana of those in need. The idea of building pātaka was one of those ideas.
“The (Pātaka Kai) Open Street Pantry Movement is a resident led, grassroots, crowd sourced solution to immediate and local need, rescuing food and encouraging the co-sharing between neighbours to strengthen communities. Whether a need for food or a need to give, the Open Street Pantry Movement facilitates neighbours helping neighbours, building community. All street pātaka (pantries) are stocked organically.” 2
People on social media would tell us, “There are many pātaka kai in Manurewa, but only one in Randwick Park. It’s situated at Alfriston College and is only for students and their families. We need ones that are on our streets, ones that anyone can access.” This post motivated our Activators (Rose, Teddy and Maria) to research and to discover what had worked in other areas. Recently they decided to set up three pātaka kai around the neighbourhood. The kaupapa is about sharing and giving kai. Teddy’s motto is, “Don’t be shy, grab a kai.”
The three pātaka were kindly donated and built by a family building business, painted by locals, recently opened with a blessing and stocked with donated goods. The pātaka developments are an example of a wider group of relational networks, working together, to help ease the impact of poverty and to bring the good news of Jesus to the poor.
“If poverty is rooted in broken relationships that result from both individual and systemic brokenness, then highly relational approaches are needed to alleviate poverty. Mobilizing teams of supportive people and their social networks are an essential component of any ministry seeking to overcome a Poverty of Being, a Poverty of Community, a Poverty of Stewardship, and a Poverty of Spiritual Intimacy.” 3
Three families will be caring for the pātaka, maintaining it and keeping it clean. Many people have been involved in this project, all who want the best for our community.
If you’d like to donate any non-perishables, please contact us.
Contributor: Dave Tims
Dave is the Director of Urban Neighbours of Hope NZ, an international mission order (unoh.co.nz and unoh.org). UNOH workers immerse themselves in the lives of neighbourhoods facing urban poverty, joining the risen Jesus to seek transformation from the bottom up. In New Zealand, UNOH workers live and serve as small, responsive neighbourhood-based teams in Randwick Park (Manurewa) and Arakura (Wainuiomata).
3. Corbett Steve; When Helping Hurts