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PAK’nSAVE Extends 'PAK Your Pantry' to Support Cyclone-Affected Esk Valley Community & Announces Long Term Plan for Addressing Food Insecurity in the Hawke’s Bay

11 August 2023

In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, the PAK’nSAVE grocers from across the North Island set up a community support program called 'PAK Your Pantry'. The initiative saw PAK’nSAVE working with community partners in the worst affected areas to support families who had been displaced, or those who had lost their homes and livelihoods, helping them get back on their feet by providing PAK’nSAVE funds to ‘PAK Your Pantry’.

Responding to the devastating impact of the cyclone, PAK Your Pantry has now provided $575,000 worth of food and everyday essentials to those affected in the hardest-hit areas. Esk Valley was one area most severely affected, with 119 stickered properties and many families left struggling to rebuild their lives and homes in the valley.

The Bay View Community Charitable Trust is helping to coordinate the community response across Eskdale, Bay View, Whirinaki and Tanhoio. Their goal is to provide all stickered property owners with cost-of-living support during these challenging times. The Esk Valley Community Hub plays a key part in distributing this aid. The Hub, established by a committed team of local residents, has developed into a crucial support system for affected families. Jenny explains: “Greg and Donna Miller from Valley D’Vine, along with other members of their local team, played a vital role in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone, offering shelter and food to people in need. This act of kindness evolved into the Esk Valley Community Hub, our primary base for community support and aid.

“Approximately 30% of our families are still residing onsite at their homes or in temporary accommodation like caravans, with limited access to individual support due to most grants and funds being distributed at a community level” – she added.

Jenny Dodds and Andrew Graney

Jenny Dodds from the Bay View Community Charitable Trust receives PAK Your Pantry gift cards for the Esk Valley Community Hub from Andrew Graney, owner operator of PAK’nSAVE Tamatea

Recognising the practical, hands-on support delivered by Esk Valley Community Hub, PAK’nSAVE has provided support via its PAK Your Pantry program.

Andrew Graney, Owner Operator of PAK’nSAVE Tamatea in Napier said: “The team at Esk Valley Community Hub are doing amazing work and they’re making such a positive difference for the people in their communities. Many families have lost everything and there’s going to be an ongoing need for food support for a long time. Our grocers live in their local communities, we’ve got friends, team members and customers all affected by the cyclone, which is why we’re committed to continuing our support during what will be a long, long recovery.”

“Helping families access the essentials is something we can do to help.  We know people are doing it tough and we’ve been working to make it as simple and easy as possible for those affected to get back on their feet” – he added.

Looking ahead, Foodstuffs North Island, the 100% New Zealand owned co-operative behind PAK’nSAVE, New World and Four Square stores in the North Island, is collaborating with community partners, Nourished for Nil, to open Napier’s first of its kind social supermarket, a place where people who need support can get what they need while having the dignity of shopping in a supermarket environment.

Christina McBeth, Founder of Nourished for Nil said: “With the support of Foodstuffs, we’re on track to open the doors of our first social supermarket in September. It’s going to expand our approach to providing food support in the local area. It’ll compliment the traditional food bank approach by providing those people experiencing food insecurity the freedom to choose what they need in a supermarket-style environment, rather than being given a pre-made parcel that might not meet the specific needs of the family. It means we can support our community even better going forward.”

Willa Hand, Head of Membership Experience for Foodstuffs North Island said: “PAK Your Pantry and our work to open social supermarkets across the North Island is about being Here for NZ, a commitment which our PAK’nSAVE, New World, Four Square and Gilmours stores have all made, and which includes social promises to support local communities to thrive and to support every New Zealander to access healthy and affordable food. When it opens in September, our Nourished for Nil social supermarket will be the eighth we’ve opened across the North Island and will be the third we’ve opened in the last four months.”