• June 9, 2017
The Auckland City Mission approves of the work of a New Plymouth-based Facebook group. Photo: Supplied / Auckland City Mission
A New Plymouth-based Facebook group is grabbing attention with its easy-to-use platform helping those in need.
The Facebook page ‘Kai & Aroha’ allows people to offer up or appeal for necessities.
Group members often ask for a hot meal for their family, baby clothes, or more blankets to stock up for winter.
The post can be made either by the person in need, or the owner of the page, Karen Lee Lende, will post on their behalf if they are too embarrassed to post themselves.
Lee Lende created Kai & Aroha last year, while studying social work. She had heard through her studies about people lacking in simple items such as warm clothes, and decided she would reach out to her community in a wider way.
The page has nearly 1000 members, with many simply offering donations of items, which has enabled Lee Lende to build up a stock of provisions.
“I’ve been able to reach a gap in the community, with some people too afraid to go to the food bank and [who] have exhausted all resources, this page is somewhere to look for help.”
Te Waha Nui asked the Auckland City Mission if a page like this would be helpful in Auckland, in order to tackle the city’s growing population of people who do not have a home, or essentials.
Auckland City Mission representative Mackenzie Koppel thought it was a lovely concept, and said the only reason they don’t deliver meals to people on the street is because this prevents them from actually receiving more in-depth support.
“That being said, having friendly members of the community show you compassion and support is never a bad thing when you are experiencing homelessness, and this initiative would no doubt offer some positive contact between rough sleepers and the wider community.”
The Auckland City Mission’s main goal and first priority is to get people into permanent housing, but their drop-in service is similar to that of Kai & Aroha’s.
Salvation Army representative Robin Raymond commented it was “nice to know people were coming up with innovative solutions”.