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Food Secure Communities

Guidance if you cannot access food or other essential supplies

Please see the Government’s COVID-19 website.

Guidance for foodbanks, food rescue and other community food providers

During the current COVID-19 resurgence, the Ministry is leading the response to support foodbanks, food rescue and other community food providers who are distributing food in the community.

We are prioritising providers who are at Level 3, or who are otherwise part of an active COVID-19 response.

Important information

Please make sure you read this important information about:

  • COVID-19 operating guidance
  • Making referrals to Work and Income
  • Family Services Directory

Access to food and other support

Most providers should be well-placed due to funding received from the Community Food Response Grant Fund. A friendly reminder to these grant recipients that six monthly reports were due on 1 February 2021, so please send through both invoicing and reporting to foodsecure@msd.govt.nz as soon as possible so that we can make your next payment. For those providers outside of Level 3, or who are not part of an active COVID-19 response, please allow up to two weeks for funds to be paid.

We also encourage you to connect with your local food rescue organisation if you require additional food supplies.

Contacting us

If any further help is required or you have any other queries, please contact us on foodsecure@msd.govt.nz

Supporting communities to become food secure while addressing additional demand on foodbanks, food rescue and other community food services

The Ministry is investing $32 million over two years to provide support for foodbanks, food rescue and other community organisations who are distributing food.

Demand for food has significantly increased for foodbanks since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented. Increased levels of unemployment and economic hardship will result in more people vulnerable to food insecurity.

As Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups step down from supporting foodbanks, this funding ensures that there will be longer-term support.

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Addressing additional demand and building food secure communities

Foodbanks and other organisations are receiving funding to meet the increased demand for food from people, families and whānau in their community over the next two years.

They are working together to plan for communities to become food secure by enhancing the mana and food sovereignty of people, families and whānau.

Providing national level support for the sector

The Ministry is also funding three national partner organisations to build sector capacity and capability for the sector, and to increase the supply of high-quality surplus food available to foodbanks and community food services.

Creating a system to better manage future shocks

The Food Secure Communities funding will provide an additional 21 million meals per annum through foodbanks and other organisations at a cost of 71c per meal. This will result in approximately 6,200 tonnes less food going to landfill, and 2,238 tonnes less CO2 emissions.

This will reduce pressure on New Zealand’s food supply chains and benefit the environment. Foodbanks and other organisations will be better placed to manage future shocks and provide greater food security for vulnerable New Zealanders.

Support for foodbanks, food rescue and other community food services

Funding opportunities include:

* Community Food Transition Grants: transitional funding to support increased demand for emergency food during the transition between Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups standing down and MSD implementing the two-year Community Food Response Funding. This has now closed, and 135 providers have received funding.

* Community Food Response Funding: funding to contribute towards your costs for up to two years, while participating in building a Food Secure Community. This has now closed, with 131 providers successful in their applications.

* Food Secure Communities Grants: funding to develop and implement a plan for a Food Secure Community. This has now closed with 49 providers successful in their applications.

Support from national partner organisations

1. New Zealand Food Network is a new organisation working to increase the supply of food to community food services by distributing bulk surplus and donated food from food producers, growers and wholesalers through to food hubs around New Zealand on an ‘as required’ basis. These food hubs will then distribute the food onto foodbanks and other community food services.

Food hubs are entities (eg food rescue organisations, iwi, other community organisations) who have the capability of accepting and handling pallets of ambient, chilled and frozen food and other product, and who can distribute that product to a wide range of community groups. New Zealand Food Network currently have 35 food hubs. As food supplies increase over time, they will increase this to around 70 to 75 food hubs.

2. Kore Hiakai Zero Hunger Collective support community food organisations across Aotearoa New Zealand to enable food to be distributed in mana enhancing ways and to strive for community led food secure communities, AND are committed to the slower, deeper work of addressing poverty-related hunger’s root causes – and all the systems that contribute to it.

3. The Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance provides national support for local food rescue organisations to reduce food waste and increase food security through capacity building, encouraging good practice, enhancing collaboration and advocating for their best interests. It will be operational in the first quarter of 2021.

Other important information

Making referrals to Work and Income

Foodbanks and other community food services are encouraged to refer whānau in the first instance (where eligible and appropriate) to Work and Income for hardship grants for food.

COVID-19 operating guidance

Guidance for foodbanks, food rescue and other community food service providers to follow as COVID-19 Alert Levels change is available.

Family Services Directory

If you need a foodbank or other food assistance in your area, search on the Family services directory website.

If you are an MSD-funded foodbank or community food service please make sure your food service is listed on the Family services directory and up to date, so that people can access your services.

Keep in touch

If you would like to contact us with any queries or subscribe to receive updates from us in the future, we are on: