Second community-run 'kapata kai' opens in Gisborne

By Talisa Kupenga

The community-run free pantry movement has hit Gisborne and is already expanding across the community.  Nga Ringa Awhina volunteers opened their second pantry today to help those in need.

They are open shelves stocked by open hearts, a second pantry for those in need.

Ngā Ringa Awhina volunteer Haanie Affleck says, "The kids, their friends, they share a bread between each other, maybe in the morning they don't have anything for breakfast, they go to school hungry and I always like to help."

Pastor Tekuramea Karere says, "First day and it is already overflowing and the cupboard is too small so that's really cool."

Ngā Ringa Āwhina Chairwoman Gabrielle Thompson started the first free pantry on her lawn this week after seeing the good the initiative had achieved at another pantry in Auckland.

Thompson says, "I feel like we're doing something awesome as a community for each other and the opening of the second cupboard just goes to show how much support there is in Gisborne for this and the need for it as well."

Thompson says the need can be difficult for some families to meet if they fall short of criteria when applying for assistance.

People have been coming to the pantry at night to avoid being seen.

"For a family that is already struggling to eat, not fitting the criteria, it would be embarrassing.  I'm hoping with this families know that when you come here there is no criteria you can just take what you need and if you can give back later on you can put back into the cupboard.

"What we are hoping for is that there are no families in Gisborne, even our kaumatua- they struggle too- that no one goes hungry."

A third pantry is expected to open next week.