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Demand for food parcels in Auckland surges 175% during Covid-19 crisis

The demand for food parcels at the Auckland City Mission spiked with a record increase, up 175% on the same period last year, during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Chief executive Chris Farrelly calls it a record increase for the organisation. Source: Breakfast

Chief executive and City Missioner Chris Farrelly says as soon as lockdown hit, people were badly off.

"Immediately people from all over our community had lost their jobs, while those who had been stranded in New Zealand had started to approach us. It was a spike unprecedented," he told TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

But as demand rose, more suppliers came along with bulk food, Mr Farrelly says.

The amount of food they supplied tripled during the lockdown period, from March to June.

Auckland City Mission says it was delivering around 450 to 500 parcels per week, supplying around 21,000 meals to families.

"Yesterday we celebrated 100 days without community transmission of Covid, I think also we're celebrating quietly, equally as quietly, we're celebrating that we've looked after each other for the last three months during this Covid [crisis]," Mr Farrelly says.

He's expecting demand to stay high over the next few months although slightly lower than its peak during lockdown.

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"The people who are coming to us now are people who have lost their jobs," he says, pointing to statistics that found 90 per cent of those who had lost their jobs in the last three months were women.

"Women are bearing the brunt of this again. Mums are making choices on a day-to-day basis. 

"Bus fare, doctor's visit, power bill, debt repayment, car repair, or food for my kids, or food for me. 

"Food is the one discretionary item, and the worry is that our mums will not even be able to feed themselves."

The Auckland City Mission today launched its winter appeal campaign to help raise money for those struggling.