It all started when…
In late 2014 we, a group of Te Puke locals, formed The Search Party Charitable Trust, with a vision to see a connected and thriving Te Puke community.
With the support of funders and our community we built a community Facility, in the form of a social enterprise café, opening The Daily Café in 2016. We began to use this space as a place for community to gather, especially for our free monthly pizza nights, and our volunteer-based community cooking sessions of ready-made cottage pies for our community. We began to host a collaboration to discuss how our community’s transport needs could be better met, collectively having input on bus route, and doing the background work for St John to initiate a health shuttle service.
Three years later in 2019, a new initiative was launched – The Daily Help. We received referrals from community members, community organisations, government departments and health providers to gather volunteers to practically help their neighbours who needed support with their sections and disposing of rubbish. This often-reconnected people with their community and in some cases, this helped people retain their tenancies. Our collaborative work continued as we supported the formation of COLAB Te Puke.
With a new government initiative launched in 2020 to provide Lunches in Schools, we formed a beautiful partnership with the local schools. A commercial kitchen was developed to feed children funded by the government initiative but also those who were not funded. We were able to provide plenty of new employment opportunities for our community. This kitchen became a platform to a more sustainable way of continuing our ready-made food support, and education around food and nutrition. We are also able to direct any overflow of food back to our community. In this year we also changed our name to The Daily Charitable Trust.
Our response to the ongoing hardship of the COVID epidemic throughout 2021 and 2022 saw continued value placed on partnership relationships and collaboration. We were able to adapt and respond quickly to an increased need for emergency ready-made meals, keeping our local iwi providers, health organisations and food bank well stocked with ready-made meals. In March/April 2022 we generated 4,000+ readymade frozen meals.
Our current goal is to position our organisation for transformational change and innovative growth as we continue to journey with our community towards our shared goal of food sovereignty. We are proud members of COLAB Te Puke and committed to working with others in the Food Security group to see the outcomes of Mana Kai Mana Ora become reality.
- We want great food for wellbeing in tough times. There is increasing chronic need for ready-made food for our struggling families, elderly and those living alone. Before COVID we provided 60 meals per month, we now average 250. We want to be well positioned to meet acute needs, as we have experienced these last two years.
- We want to feed all our kids a nutritious lunch for learning. Currently we feed 2000 beautiful school aged tamariki in the community daily (250 of which are not funded by the Ministry of Education). The dream would be to increase our capacity to feed the remaining 1000 children who are not being reached due to funding.
- We want to deliver hot ready-made food to those who need it. Currently all our produced food is delivered cold or frozen. Not everyone has what is needed to heat it and eat it, particularly the unwell and elderly, so let’s give those who need it fresh, hot meals.
- We want to feed more people by growing some of our own produce. Currently our garden produce spend is at market prices and directs funds to outside our rohe. We can involve the community in this process to shorten the supply chain. In turn we can maximise our quantity and quality, using the savings to create more food for our community.
- We want to share with our community how to cook from scratch. In the past we have provided 4 successful cooking skill courses for a total of 40 families and individuals. We can support and upskill more Te Puke people, including the next generation, to help them feed themselves well and on budget.
- We want to revive our property help programme. Before COVID we were running two Daily Help sessions per week. We can now again work with volunteers to support overwhelmed people to get back on top of their sections, supporting mental health all-round and showing them life skills to take it into the future. In some cases, this is the difference between retaining a tenancy and homelessness.
- We are bursting at the seams at our current site. We don’t have enough indoor and outdoor space currently for food storage or to safely grow to meet our aspirations.
Due to these factors we began to search for an alternative site with the aim to move in March 2023. We are currently working with Vincent House Trust to lease half of a large building at their Number 3 Road site, and things are looking good. We have an existing relationship with Vincent House, as they supported us greatly to tender and implement the Lunches in Schools programme in our current site.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share our story with you.
General Manager and Founding Trustee