April 1, 2024

Food donations without judgement

3 min


Written by:

Megan Raynor

VIew Profile

In times of hardship, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is letting anyone see your struggle. Whether a matter of pride or a wish to carry on as normal, it makes asking for help feel challenging. There’s that little nagging feeling that by struggling - whether financially or otherwise - that you’re failing at life somehow, which is far from the truth.

Removing this barrier is a big part of what makes the Otūmoetai Social Supermarket (OSS) unique. Created in 2022 as a way to provide a helping hand to families in the area when they need it, the initiative puts the power back in their shoppers’ hands, making the experience a dignified one.

For one of their shoppers, this fear of being judged or feeling ‘less than’ almost stopped them from coming in at a time they needed support the most.

“I was anxious about coming along as I wondered if I was deserving and nervous about what the experience would be like. But the ladies were very welcoming and made the experience very comfortable….Lots of laughs and treated me with respect. I did not feel judged at all.”

Shopper, OSS

This is not uncommon, and to help their recipients feel comfortable the OSS replicate a “normal” supermarket experience as much as possible. This means stocking their shelves with everything from sanitary products, to easter eggs during Easter, to the daily basics. Shoppers then use a points system to choose their own items based on their families needs, rather than be handed a standard food parcel.

To do this however, OSS needs support. Recently PAKn’SAVE Tauranga partnered with us to give their customers the chance to pay-it-forward as part of their grocery shop. With a long history of supporting community initiatives, this was the first time the store had given customers the chance to join them in their efforts.

In just two weeks PAK’nSAVE’s customers paid-forward a grand total of $10,975, which will be used to supply groceries for the Social Supermarket’s shelves. 

That is the equivalent of helping 439 people get groceries in a time of food insecurity and financial hardship.

A big thank you to all who were involved, your generosity is an inspiration to us all.

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