Auckland City Mission struggling to meet tripled demand for food packages after COVID-19 lockdown

Auckland City Mission is scrambling to meet an overwhelming demand for food packages.

The charity was distributing 450 food parcels a week before COVID-19 hit, rising to 1200 through lockdown - an increase of almost 170 percent. 

City Missioner Chris Farrelly says demand is continuing to grow.

"This is a year like no other, it's a winter like no other and it will continue to be a long winter for many," he said.

Farelly told Newshub there is a "large and consistent" need for help amid growing food insecurity.

"When we went into COVID we already had a significant food insecurity problem in New Zealand - around 10 percent of our population were food insecure and that's now 20 percent," he said. 

Farrelly says women are often the ones who suffer most.

"Women are carrying the burden and the brunt of this. Frequently it's women who are solo mums, struggling anyway, and it's becoming too high for some," Farrelly said. 

"We have the particularly shocking figure that of the 11,000 who lost their jobs during COVID, 10,000 were women."

Last week, data from Statistics NZ revealed unemployment in the June quarter rose to 4.4 percent for women, but fell to 3.6 percent for men. 

In order to continue helping Auckland's most vulnerable, Farrelly says the Mission needs help from the community.

"This is essentially an appeal for cash - which will allow us to purchase what we need to purchase, and hire staff," he told Newshub.

"It's staggering, it's challenging but we believe with Auckland's help we will get through this together."