The airline donated cookies, bliss balls, fudge, crackers and muesli to the Trust, which has been servicing South Auckland and North Waikato for the past 26 years, providing essential social services, budgeting and financial capability services including a food bank. Ten cabin crew members volunteered over a number of days, packing more than 400 boxes each day. Parcels included essentials like non-perishable food stuffs, fresh fruit and vegetables, lunch box items for kids, and health packs including shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Air New Zealand Flight Service Manager Gina Eberle saw the request for volunteers on social media, prompting her to put the call out to her cabin crew colleagues in the area.
"I knew the organisers were short of volunteers and some of my colleagues were wanting to get involved. It was really alarming how quickly the food ran out. It put the pandemic into perspective – everyone has their own thing going on."
Mangere Budgeting Services Trust and Food Bank CEO Darryl Evans says the Trust is hugely grateful for the donation from Air New Zealand, and for its cabin crew who generously reached out to volunteer their time.
"A busy week used to see 250 food parcels being distributed but, since Covid-19 really hit in late March, demand has skyrocketed to over 2,700 parcels a week, with a three-hour queue forming daily.
"Air New Zealand's donation means more food items, so many people in need in our community will continue to receive food parcels this winter when it could not be more needed. We're also really grateful to the cabin crew who gave their time and support during Alert Level 3."
Air New Zealand General Manager Brand and Content Marketing Jodi Williams says when the airline learnt that a number of their cabin crew were volunteering their own time, the airline wanted to show its support by donating its surplus dry goods.
"Our cabin crew got involved with the Trust on their own, so when we heard they had more mouths to feed than parcels, we decided to donate some of our surplus dry goods. It's been great to see these items going to people who really deserve them."