Families were struggling before Covid-19: David Letele

By D'Angelo Martin

He's offered services with little support for vulnerable communities before, during and even after the country's multiple lockdowns. David Butterbean Letele has provided an abundance of lunch packages and support to his at-risk community alongside his team at Motivation Headquarters in Manukau.  

The struggle hasn't gotten easier but the wraparound support has escalated. The food packs come in the hundreds, David Letele, who runs Butterbean Motivation, tells people: "Put away your pride - it's okay to ask for help. What we’ve been doing is sourcing excess lunches. These lunch packs that you see us giving out are from Eat My Lunch."

Letele says he's deeply aware of families' struggles. And he knows what it means to work and move together as one. "Another lockdown just means our wraparound support increases for those who are in need. We stood up and started helping our community, that's all we do all day every day," he says.

Eleven children, no food

Families have relied on Butterbean Motivation for their daily food essentials. "What we’re hearing is exactly that, Struggle! We helped a family today with 11 children. If you have 11 kids at home and you can't go to work, that’s a lot of mouths to feed that you worry about and stress, knowing that it’s going to go longer than three days."

He put out a call to Eat My Lunch and the Ministry of Social Development, which have provided thousands of lunches that were meant to go into schools. However, because of the alert level restrictions, these lunch packs have been diverted to BBM. " We’ve been able to still give them to the kids who are at home now."

Aside from that, Letele claims he has received little support for this initiative. "We’re still not getting any support for our health programmes and it took a pandemic for us to get some support for the wrap-around work that we’re doing."
The country has been through three lockdowns, given Covid-19 outbreaks and, even after the first two lockdowns were lifted, Letele and his BBM volunteers were still active in providing for families. 

"We’ve been doing this since before Covid-19. It’s just Covid has meant that we’ve really had to scale up and amplify the work that we’ve been doing. The hardship never goes away for some families, so we want to assure them that there are people and places out there who are willing to help."