The sign on the front door is heartfelt.
“Thank you so much. We appreciate what your doing and cannot thank you enough. Keep safe.”
Another sign on another door says: “We can’t thank you in person so we made you this. Thank you for everything yous do in our community.”
Behind these doors are people who asked the Christchurch City Mission for help and they badly want to say thank you for the food boxes and bags we leave on their doorstep.
The agreement is the City Mission workers and people don’t meet each other to keep safe. So the homeowners turn to signs often decorated with hearts to show their gratitude.
This is the new way we are looking after our people in a city under lockdown.
Today Foodbank co-ordinator Nicola Williamson is delivering food boxes to the eastern suburbs. Usually she works at a desk at the City Mission headquarters in Hereford Street and interviews people who come to the City Mission for food.
Now others are interviewing on the phone, while she’s criss-crossing Christchurch in one of the four City Mission vans full of food.
“I’m just glad to be able to help these people. They need a meal, they are locked in their homes and they are worried,” Nicola says.
As an essential service, the City Mission is allowed to go out into the community to do its work if the community is not allowed to come to it.
Demand is soaring and it is only going to get worse as the economy worsens. We are averaging twice as many food boxes than usual, with some days our workload is 300 per cent up on what it was pre-virus lockdown.
Some of the saddest pleas for help come from elderly people who can’t leave home to shop, and don’t have anyone to get them food. We are prioritising their calls for help.
They offer to pay for staples such as milk, bread and margarine, but, as much as we need financial support at the moment, we won’t take money for Foodbank supplies.
(But we do take donations through our website and Christchurch people are stepping up to back our work in that way.)
The City Mission is also continuing to operate its men’s and women’s emergency accommodation units with those residents remaining in lockdown with us.
Our residential detox recovery unit is still operating and we continue to do social work and addiction counselling with clients over the phone.
The City Mission remains on the frontline of getting help to those who need it most in Christchurch.