South Auckland pastor to pilot soup kitchen for those in need

It’s a tough winter for many, so an Auckland pastor wants to turn his church into a soup kitchen to help those less fortunate. 

Joseph Fa'afiu with his son Ryan preparing to cook up a storm to help those less fortunate. Source: Supplied

Joseph Fa’afiu, the lead pastor of The Gate Church in Papakura, will be piloting the Help Your ‘Hood programme every Sunday night in August - serving up to 180 people at a time.

He said the need for the initiative was something he had recognised in his community, but hearing about people lining up outside Manurewa’s WINZ office at 2am was “the last straw”.

The Auckland City Mission calculated that thousands of Auckland families have less than $7 a meal to feed themselves.

“We can’t help everyone, but we can help those people in our locality,” Mr Fa’afiu said.

“We wanted to pilot it just to see what the need was. And, already, we’ve had some responses from the community.”

Aside from offering free soup and bread, the church wants to provide people with blankets and toiletries for the winter and put on entertainment for its patrons — “so people feel loved and valued,” he said.

Despite only announcing the programme five days ago on Facebook, Mr Fa’afiu said many in the community, both inside and outside of the church, have put their hand up to volunteer. 

“Random people started emailing saying, ‘How can we volunteer?’

“Obviously, the community are wanting to do stuff.

“We’re thinking, man, it’d be cool if other local churches did that on a Sunday evening in winter,” he said.

Mr Fa’afiu said his church whānau “will step up” but would also appreciate sponsorship for soup ingredients.

“It’s becoming a great need in our community, which is very sad.”