Family Service Centres support families with food assistance In September 2022, Great Potentials began receiving 16 food boxes every fortnight from Feed the Need NZ and The Salvation Army Mt Wellington. The parcels are distributed to whānau and tamariki from our Family Services Centres at Papakura and Takanini and Papakura Early Learning Centre. In the past 5 months, we have supported 228 individual people, predominately Māori and Pasifika families. Our Social Services team, Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) and Papakura Early Learning Centre are well-positioned to identify children and families who need help receiving food assistance. Many families struggle financially with food, and this is an ongoing trend both pre- and post-covid. Food parcel assistance has been in high demand as grocery prices have risen. Food parcels were also delivered to the families who have been affected by the Auckland flood in late January 2023. Iva and Perry, Social Services Team, deliver food parcels to families “Being able to provide food to families is a positive first step to helping them engage with our Family Service Centres and services when food scarcity is an issue for them. Families have been very grateful and have begun to contact us and respond to our services,” says Margaret, Family Service Centre Manager Our SWiS (Social Worker in School) workers also repackaged the parcels and gave them to students who were most in need. Some of the items, such as cereal, milk powder, and canned fruits, are kept in the classrooms for students who do not have breakfast before going to school. “A big thank you to Feed The Need and The Salvation Army Mt Wellington who have been donating food parcels to us for onward distribution to our clients. The students have been very respectful and appreciative. Since we started distributing the food to children and families, the student attendance rate has improved,” says Allwin, SWiS worker. Our Family Service Centres in Papakura and Takanini are true community hubs, providing integrated health, education and social services in two high-needs communities.