Whangarei social supermarket initiative expanding to support whānau food security

by | Sep 16, 2022 | News

Foodstuffs North Island is expanding its social supermarket initiative to a new partnership with 155 Whare Āwhina in Whangarei, which will provide the dignity of choice for whānau in the region who need support with accessing food. 

Food insecurity has been a longstanding issue for many local whānau in Whangarei and 155 Foodbank supply between 90 and 150 food parcels each week.  

The social supermarket initiative which will be located at 3 Woods Road in Whangarei will be an extension of the wrap-round community services 155 Whare Āwhina already provides for whānau in the Taitokerau community, such as legal advice through their 155 Community Law centres and help with whānau and housing support. They also have a 155 Open Arms Day Centre which is a place for people who are facing homelessness to rest, have kai and seek support. It’s here they’ve been providing free food parcels via their foodbank, and this will now turn into Whangarei’s first social supermarket. 

155 Whare Āwhina CEO Liz Cassidy-Nelson (pictured above) says, “As a community we care about our whānau and their needs so it’s wonderful that whānau will have the ability to pick what they need. We hope the social supermarket will bring our community aroha (genuine care), manaakitanga (sense of safety and welcoming space), whanaungatanga (built on a trusted relationship) and rangatiratanga.” 

“When people have an emergency and need food, they come to a traditional foodbank and more often than not just get given what they get given. That’s really helpful, but it doesn’t take into consideration cultural needs, allergies, food preferences,” says  Foodstuffs North Island Head of Membership Experience Willa Hand.

“The idea behind social supermarkets is that when individuals or families have an emergency need for whatever reason – maybe they’re having a tough week, or a tough month and are struggling to put food on the table – we can do more than just give them what we have in a pre-packed food parcel. The intention is to have a range of products on the shelves in our social supermarket that enables them to come in, have the dignity of choosing the products they need themselves, so they can make the kind of meals they want to cook, shopping in an environment that looks and feels like a supermarket.” 

This is Foodstuffs North Island’s fourth social supermarket partnership, following the success of the Wellington City Mission Social Supermarket, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia – in partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and the Tokoroa Social Supermarket – in partnership with BBM. Every social supermarket is different, tapping into the local knowledge of community partners to tailor the offering for the needs of each community.

Foodstuffs donated over 6.3 million meals through its Here for NZ food rescue partnerships and relationships in 2022 and now plans to roll out their social supermarket initiatives to more communities in the year ahead. Discussions are already underway with community partners in six different regions, including Tauranga, to set up similar social supermarkets and make a meaningful difference to New Zealanders in need of food support.  

Foodstuffs North Island is the New Zealand owned and operated co-operatives behind PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square.

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