Coronavirus: Charities run off their feet, delivering more food in a day than they usually would in a week

Food banks and charities are almost universally run off their feet at the moment with some now delivering more packages than they would in a usual week every day

The Lemoe family needed help and as you can imagine admitting that was in itself hard enough.

They'd just moved down to Huntly when COVID-19 hit. Mum Fenumiai hadn't secured a job cleaning yet. One of her children works at Corrections and the other three are still at school.

If it wasn't for the lockdown, daughter Esther would be studying engineering at Auckland University.

At the moment, after the mortgage and bills are paid Fenumiai says there's about "$100-something" left - for a family of seven.

$100 a week to feed her family - meaning the food delivery from Waikato charity K'aute Pasifika isn't just a care package - it's survival.

Rachel Karalus from K'aute Pasifika says the pandemic has just intensified the pressure. 

"This really has just intensified that vulnerability and increased existing pressures," she told Newshub. 

At the start of lockdown, they had one person organising deliveries but all that has changed.

"We've had five people on the phone, non-stop, answering enquiries in relation to care packages and registering people."

It's a need that spans much of New Zealand at the moment. The Government is giving out nearly 70,000 food grants a week and in Auckland, workers at St Vincent De Paul are exhausted working 12 hour days six days a week.

Delphine Soti from St Vincent De Paul says she's never seen anything like it in the 12 years she's worked for the organisation. 

Pre-COVID they were delivering about 120 food parcels a week, now they're doing about 200 a day.

"We're finding people are fearful of losing their accommodation, and so food becomes a discretionary item, and that's why we're getting the calls now," she told Newshub.

And those calls aren't expected to stop anytime soon.