Milford Foundation supporting Auckland foodbanks

It has been a privilege to be in the position to have supported three Auckland foodbanks struggling to keep up with soaring demand for food and household essentials as Auckland heads into its fourth week of level 4 lockdown.

Manukau Urban Maori Authority’s Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Favona, which operates a foodbank in partnership with the Auckland City Mission, public health provider The Fono’s Feleoko Food-Hub, and West Auckland-based The Village Community Services Trust will each receive $40,000 from the Foundation to help them continue to provide food for families in need. Each of these phenomenal charities received grants from the Milford Foundation on Thursday 9th of October 2021.

Milford Foundation chief executive Bryce Marsden said the ongoing Level 4 restrictions were hitting vulnerable people hard, with social service providers across the region reporting sharply increased demand, particularly for food packages.

Sir Michael Jones, Chairperson and founding trustee of The Village Community Services Trust, said his organisation was fielding requests for help “from people and families we have never seen before or expected to see”. 

“This lock down is different and harder, families are struggling,” said Sir Michael.

We established the Milford Foundation earlier this year with the intention of supporting selected charities involved in youth, education, and the environment.

Our three granting pillars are closely aligned with the Foundation’s purpose: Investing in the future of Aotearoa, creating opportunities for generations to follow. However, the Foundation had always intended to complement its work in those areas with targeted relief for cases of urgent need.

Our vision is about creating a sustainable and viable way of life for generations to come – but if we don’t deal with the problems confronting us here and now, we have no hope of achieving our long-term objectives. One of the most pressing problems our community faces right now, is people not having enough to eat.

Ongoing stories in media talk of the people who live not week-to-week, but day-to-day in Auckland right now. Many rely on casual work to make ends meet – the sort of work that disappears during a lockdown. At the same time, schools, churches and other organisations that might usually help meet this need are either closed, or severely restricted in what they can do, so the pressure on groups like the ones we are supporting ratchets up even further.

Sir Michael Jones said the Milford Foundation’s support would not only help put food on the tables of families in need, it would remind people who felt isolated and desperate that they were part of a community that cared for and about them.

For the Milford Foundation to be in a position to help alongside others, is about more than meeting people’s immediate needs for food and other essentials, as important as that is. It is also about maintaining people’s sense of worth, and allowing them to have hope.