COVID-19: Charities, community groups delivering food to vulnerable New Zealanders as demand surges

While most of the country is staying home, community groups and charities are out delivering food to vulnerable Kiwis.

Demand for food parcels and sanitation packs has surged in the past week.

The food is delivered to the door, food with a smile, and a thumbs up - something that goes a long way when you're stuck at home.

Kokiri Marae is delivering supplies in Wainuiomata to those most in need.

"There's no need for any of us to go downtown to get anything at all," kaumatua Harete Kawana says.

"It's a big help to me, you know, whereas I don't have to go out now and worry about it," adds kaumatua Lena Simmonds.

The marae's pataka kai has been running for over a year giving free food to Wainui and Hutt Valley communities. The speed of this lockdown has caught people off guard.

"Quite desperate because there wasn't much time. So 6pm Tuesday they made the announcement we're going to lockdown so of course, people panic as they do," says Kokiri Marae Pataka Kai Janis Awatere.

In the first lockdown, this Wainuimaota food gifting programme was delivering 1500 boxes a week and is expecting this time to be just as busy with many people struggling to make ends meet.

Wellington City Mission is also filling trolleys with food for the not-so-fortunate and taking it to people's homes.

"These people are vulnerable at the best of times, and what we've found is lockdown and the pressures lockdown creates increases that vulnerability so I do worry about people's ability to cope," says Wellington City missioner Murray Edridge.

To help with that, the Red Cross' 'meals on wheels' service is also checking in with people during food drops.