TODAY |

Manukau food bank struggling to help everyone in need amid pandemic

The man behind one of New Zealand’s largest food banks says it’s not big enough to cope with growing demand.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Dave Letele says demand is only going to grow. Source: Seven Sharp

Dave Letele told TVNZ 1’s Seven Sharp he often saw queues of cars “going back to the motorway” at the Brown Buttabean Motivation food bank in Manukau.

“I had no idea it would go that big, but it sort of shows the need that’s out there at the moment.”

Mr Letele said he realised the need for Brown Buttabean Motivation to provide essentials for people when he helped a mother with four kids the day before the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown started who didn’t have money for food.

Mr Letele said he was only expecting things to get worse as the Government wage subsidy period neared its end and more people lost their jobs.

He said he was “very blessed” to get support from various businesses, but now needed more support because their operations didn’t have funding and relied on volunteers. 

“We need money, we need food … all the necessities that we take for granted - that’s what we need.”

He said people who barely had “their head above water” before the pandemic were “really drowning now”.

“Then you’ve got a whole new level of people who are middle-class and up that have never experienced this kind of struggle.”

He added: “If you haven’t lived on noodles and Weet-Bix before, it can be scary.”