150 Auckland homeless enjoy free three-course meal

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

12 of Auckland's top business leaders are donating chef jackets to prepare a special meal for 150 of the City's homeless and rough sleepers.

It's in aid of the Auckland City Mission Cook-Off to raise funds and awareness about food insecurity.

50 guests came from Papakura Marae, 50 from Manukau Urban Māori Authority and 50 from several Auckland City Mission services.

The Auckland City Mission is setting the table for those who are struggling to feed themselves every week.

“Kai is not just about hunger and food,” said Chris Farrelly.

“it's about relationships and enjoying and celebrating and that's what this is also about tonight.”

The three-course meal was created by three of the country's top chefs, Nadia Lim, Michael Van de Elzen, and Nici Wickes.

All the food for the meals are donated.

Each year, the mission distributes 13,000 emergency food parcels to families and individuals to feed 41,000 people per year.

“Every day many, many food packages go out from the mission to over 42 sites all over Auckland- and we're seeing this growing every year,” said Farrelly.

“We're also seeing people who are coming to receive food packages, many are actually working.  So the reality of hunger, food poverty, food insecurity in New Zealand is something we want to bring forth.”

The NGO requires $1.5mil each year for food and receives no money from the government.  The 12 business leaders have set up their own fundraising pages through the Mission City Cook-Off website to help meet the mission's need.

“We get massive donations of food every day but we have to supplement that.  Every food package every day is prescribed. It's been designed for nutritional value and so if we don't have donations or a particular kind of food, we have to go and purchase.” 

Over $118,000 has been donated so far.  The public has until the end of the month to make a donation on the City Mission Cook-Off website.       

Guests were entertained by the Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei haka group.