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Pasifika Families Feeling The Pressure Of Auckland Lockdown

Press Release – Failoa Famili Trust

Liz Sio shares the heartfelt struggle experienced by families affected by COVID-19 amidst Aucklands lockdown: others felt the pressure within the home and could hear the silent cries through the walls. Our vulnerable have suffered, especially …

Liz Sio shares the heartfelt struggle experienced by families affected by COVID-19 amidst Auckland’s lockdown: “… others felt the pressure within the home and could hear the silent cries through the walls”.

Our vulnerable have suffered, especially our elderly and solo mums. The struggle is keenly felt with those: who are self-isolating, who have lost jobs, and those who have lost income despite the 80% wage subsidy. Most of their pay goes to high rents and power bills leaving little to pay other bills and food. It’s a sad and dark cycle.

A father who gratefully received a Pasifika customised food pack, shares his story, one that is typical of many parents. 

“From the start of lockdown I felt sorry for my kids, they always run to the cupboards to get what they want to eat but after the second week and empty cupboards they kept asking “daddy where’s the food. I was in tears. I was frustrated. I was stressed. I was thinking why did we leave the islands, come here just work and pay bills and can’t afford to buy food for my four kids”.

“We had to use whatever food we had before the lockdown. My pay is less 20% but I still need to pay rent, power and other bills. I got some help from food banks and the government but we were still short. When we received our food pack, we were so thankful and happy because it was enough food for two weeks. Thank you Failoa Famili I thank God for helping us!”

Failoa Famili Trust is a small community organisation with a big heart. Failoa is Samoan for Just do it. Famili is Tongan for family. Our mission is to provide ‘hope’ and ‘motivation’ through programmes and services that support the goals and aspirations of Pasifika families.

There are many community organisations and food banks doing an excellent job responding to the need, but it is fragmented and frankly not well co-ordinated. Our requests for support falls on agencies that suggest we work with funded providers, a system that is selective with the providers they fund. Pasifika Futures does not represent all Pasifika communities yet they get given millions to help our communities while smaller organisations are treated poorly. Many like Failoa Famili have to apply for contestable funding which is never enough and not guaranteed.

The more community organisations working together the better we can respond to the high demand. We have a solution, a streamlined system that cuts through the red tape and works on a high trust model with families, church groups and community groups. Lessons learned from our COVID-19 experience last year helped with our rapid response this lockdown. We have an excellent relationship with PaknSave Lincoln Road and PaknSave Westgate. We co-ordinate with community co-hort leaders to triage their group of families and then order directly from the supermarket liaising with our mobile team of volunteers towards a safe and manageable schedule for pick up, packing and drop off.

We are working on a food secure project plan to deliver more life skills workshops to grow your own food and make your own food and to empower families to be self-sufficient and resilient. We want to take our families back to how they used to live in the islands, using the land and sea for food. We have a plan to develop an online food bank offering the Pasifika customized food pack to start with. So next time we are in lockdown we will be better prepared to support families.

The value of a food pack is approximately $300 and includes bulk food items familiar to Pasifika families that will last for up to two weeks. We work with local supermarkets so food is fresh, packed and delivered by our mobile team of volunteers.

But the demand is massive and the government has underestimated the impact of this lockdown with so many families struggling to cope. Auckland Council, Foundation North and Ministry of Education have supported Failoa Famili’s COVID-19 response with Pasifika customized food packs helping 500 families across Auckland in the past two weeks.

Sadly, we have many more families still waiting for food packs.

You can help by donating here https://www.failoafamili.co.nz/donation-details/7

Thank you, Nga mihi nui, Fa’afetai tele lava, Malo ‘aupito.

UNITED AGAINST COVID-19 – TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

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