Over 1,000 food parcels and nearly 50 winter clothing and blanket packages have been delivered to people facing hardship in the region through efforts coordinated by Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (HBCDEM).

“This is a very stressful time for many people in Hawke’s Bay – sudden hardship is difficult to deal with, and for many people this is the first time they’ve had to ask for help,” says Group Welfare Manager Alison Prins.

“While most people are continuing to shop normally for their essential products, there are a small number facing real hardship who need greater support.”

A regional 0800 welfare line was set up in April at the request of the New Zealand Government, to meet the immediate basic needs until other services and support was available.

The welfare line is staffed by around 40 redeployed workers from Hawke’s Bay’s five councils and 16 staff from The Development Hub who had contact centre experience.

It was mostly meeting the needs of people with an urgent basic food needs and essential items such as toiletries.

“We’ve also been helping people who don’t have warm winter clothing because they’re in emergency or transitional housing, or facing colder days with no warm blankets.”

HBCDEM is operating the contact centre to respond to calls and co-ordinate supply, packaging and delivery of care parcels, while the Government is covering the cost of all goods supplied.

Ms Prins said it had been a massive logistical undertaking to get the welfare service set up, including partnering with local supermarkets and logistics companies.

Hawke’s Bay welfare line: 0800 422 923

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