Gizzy Kai Rescue heroes donate to vulnerable whānau

By Taroi Black

The community of Gisborne have banded together since the beginning of the lockdown, distributing kai to their most vulnerable. 

Eleven community groups had registered to ensure hundreds of whānau were fed thanks to the helping hand of Gizzy Kai Rescue. 

Even the food donors - local growers and producers are, “doing it tough through this but, even so, many are pushing through,” Gizzy Kai Rescue Manager Lauren Beattie says.

Volunteers helping to distribute kai to whānau in need - Photo / File

The increase and demand for food distribution during the Alert Level 4 period has seen the not-for-profit community group handle over 18 tonnes of rescued food for vulnerable whānau right across the Gisborne district.

“This is the way Gizzy Kai Rescue practises manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga – caring for our environment and our people.”

Volunteers packed and ready to go - Photo / File

Beattie who walked into the job four months ago to manage the initiative never saw a global crisis of such intensity come so early into her tenure.

When the country was locked down under COVID-19 Level 4, demand grew and Gizzy Kai Rescue sought further donations of food. This saw extra donations of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and packaged food.

More packs being distributed across Gisborne - Photo / File

Registered groups particularly responsible to house the homeless relieved by the generosity provided by its own community, and ensuring those in desperate need aren’t forgotten.

Tom Crawford whose supporting his daughter caring for the homeless told Te Ao Maori News, “I really can’t say enough about them and the service that they're providing.”

Gizzy Kai Rescue is also looking for more volunteers to pitch in the response once New Zealand drops to Alert Level 2.

Earlier this week the Gisborne District Council had released their vision to rebuild a resilient Tairawhiti.

Some 350 businesses and community groups took on a survey with Trust Tairawhiti. Businesses identify a reduction in customers, short term cash flow and staff wellbeing as the biggest areas of concern and would like support with financial planning, business continuity and strategy.

Community groups identified financial support, along with whānau and social support, as the biggest requirements.

Gizzy Kai Rescue and other community organisations were praised for their continuous support during this pandemic event.