A once-homeless Taranaki man is giving back to the very people who helped him get off the streets. Joeli Thacker is now the weekend kitchen manager at the Auckland City Mission.
Thacker was on the streets for almost a year before landing his first job. But through his journey of hardship, Thacker found his purpose.
He is now a paid staff member who helps to manage volunteers.
The mission utilises the support of more than 4,000 volunteers every year.
Thacker is optimistic as to what lies ahead in the future but one thing is for sure, he will continue to help those in need.
On average, the Auckland City Mission distributes over $1,700,000 worth of food every year.
Thacker says, "I ended up taking up a job as a kitchen hand in one of the restaurants and I got interested in cooking, I'm done with cooking in restaurants now and I got asked to hand in my CV in for this job."
He adds, "I guess it all adds up to who you are at the end of the day so I guess when this job came up it was a good chance to utilise the skills I learned over the last however many years to give something back."
"It just takes a bit of coordination because most of the volunteers they don't have any commercial kitchen experience, a lot of them are receptive to doing what you ask them to do which is really cool," Thacker says.