We all know there are pockets of poverty in Avondale, indeed, many of our neighbours struggle and, as most New Zealanders live from pay-packet to pay-packet, it wouldn’t be much of a slip for many more of us to find ourselves going hungry.
Hence the enormous need for the Avondale Community Fridge & Pantry and the Feed The Streets programmes – both run by Anne Riley, a veritable saint in our midst.
I volunteered at Feed the Streets this weekend joining several others who pull together each fortnight to donate food and time cooking for and serving those in need.
Feed the Streets is a two-year-old initiative begun by community workers Dayne Smith and Leilani Kaihe-Bennett in response to Avondale’s growing need.
“When we began,” says Dayne, “there were a number of people sleeping rough at the Racecourse and in the town centre. One of the guys, Dion, mentioned how important it was to have food in his belly to sustain him through the night. We were aware there was rescued food available through a group called Fair Food, and Feed the Streets was born.”
From three guests on the first night, Feed the Streets has since grown to feed 50-70 people on a regular basis. But food is not the only draw.
“People come in large part for the camaraderie and companionship,” says Dayne. “Social isolation has a huge effect on your well-being and Feed the Streets is an opportunity for people to connect with each other.”
I found volunteering at Feed the Streets to be immensely warm and rewarding all the while mindful, “There but for the Grace of God go I!”
Make Feed the Streets something you volunteer for at least once – you will find yourself richer for it.
Check out the Facebook group for details; and just rock on up.
Upcoming dates are 3, 17, 31 August and 14, 28 September 2019
Volunteers should arrive around 5.15pm and guests 5.30pm