Soul Food feeding Whangarei's hungry

Soul Food feeding Whangarei's hungry

Twice a week, rain, hail or even cyclone, a group called Soul Food is feeding hungry people in Whangarei.

Last night they were back at their usual spot at the Rose St bus stop.

With fat pink pork bones cooked with puha and kumara, and slabs of mince pie, every Monday and Friday night they supply 200 meals a week for anyone who needs it.

"When they come down we don't ask why they want a meal and that, you know," Chris Youens says. "We just hand it out."

But after dishing up for three years now, Mr Youens and Rochelle Hedges of Soul Food have a pretty good idea of who's coming for dinner.

"We have people that have jobs [and] we have people that are homeless," Ms Hedges says. "We've had people that come living in cars."

Volunteers meet at Ms Hedges' house to cook. They use veggies donated from the farmers market and their butcher lets them run a tick.

The trailer and the tables have been gifted by local businesses.

At first it wasn't easy to get people to come.

"[Mr Youens] went around and looked under bushes [and said,] 'Hey come and have a free feed,'" Ms Hedges says. "And after that, the needy told the needy [and] the hungry told the hungry."

Police told them there were only three homeless people in Whangarei and that they were wasting their time, but Mr Yoens and Ms Hedges proved it was time well spent.

The pair aren't rich and they rely on donations and volunteers. One day they'd like to move somewhere there's a bit more shelter, maybe somewhere with a kitchen. But in the meantime, there are dishes to be done.

A donation can be made to Soul Food via their Givealittle page, or you can get in touch with Soul Food on Facebook.

Mr Youens says that paperwork is not his strong suit, but he's working on getting them registered as a charity. If you can help, drop them a line.

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