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Cyclone Gabrielle: Nourished for Nil open seven days to keep up with demand

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit Hawke’s Bay last month, Nourished for Nil in Hastings was preparing to celebrate its 6th birthday and opening of its new premises

Instead, the local non-profit food rescue and distribution organsation jumped into action to help feed those impacted by the cyclone.

The depot was inundated with requests for support the day after the flooding and the team jumped from normal operations into crisis mode operations, with 15 volunteers a day making flood relief parcels that contained 8kg of non-perishable food that were rapidly distributed to affected people.

Nourished for Nil founder CEO Christina McBeth said crisis brings people together because, at the heart of most people, there is a desire to help lessen the suffering of others. “In a crisis we see the things that truly matter like having food, shelter, family and friends.”

People would come to pick up 30 to 40 parcels at a time in their four-wheel-drives and deliver them by door knocking, cold calling, by helicopter, or even backpacking them to families who had been cut off.

McBeth said some of Nourished for Nil’s most reliable food parcel couriers have been “everyday people” who knocked on the depot door and said that they wanted to help.

One woman, Rachel Terry, took it upon herself to organise a daily crew of three to five people with cars who would take 10 to 15 flood relief parcels each and go door-knocking in the worst-hit areas, finding those people who had been overlooked or were too afraid to ask for help. McBeth said because of people like Terry, “we can give our 18kg parcels to them with confidence because even with the massive outpouring of help from Marae, schools, sports centres and pop-up sites, it is the boots on the ground, a smiling face and a parcel filled with aroha that goes a long way. That is what makes our work 100 per cent worthwhile.”

Nourished for Nil has been open seven days a week since the cyclone to accept food donations, big and small, from near and far, while also acting as “counsellors to those who were shell shocked and just needed to talk,” McBeth said.

The group also continues to operate its usual model, food rescue and supporting the wider food insecure community from four venues five days a week.

McBeth says “once the immediate crisis subsides and the community slowly starts rebuilding, and the long road ahead is full of uncertainty, Nourished for Nil will be here to help keep bellies full”. Article supplied by NZ Herald:

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