10 May 2024

Super Support

Super Support

It is disheartening to read the news and hear from local organisations such as Age Concern about the struggles the Western Bay of Plenty’s older community are facing. There have been a growing number of stories about superannuants experiencing hunger. Some are even going days without a nutritious meal due to financial stress brought about by rising living costs.

“What we have seen and heard is if those struggling with dental expenses, health costs, rent, mortgage payments and food price rises are only on superannuation, purchasing food is on the bottom of their list. If they don’t pay their rent, there is a ripple effect from that,” says Tanya Smith at Age Concern.

Donna Hannah at the Katikati Community Centre expressed her concerns for the older community in Katikati who are not able to afford and access cooked meals.

Unfortunately, Meals on Wheels is no longer servicing the Katikati region and Kura Kai (primarily for food support in schools) is under a lot of stress to keep up with the demand.

According to Stats NZ data from June 2023, food prices increased by 12.5% since June 2022, with fruit and vegetables being 22 percent more expensive. Meat, poultry, and fish have seen an 11 percent increase, while grocery food prices rose by 12.8 percent. These obstacles collectively contribute to situations where our older community are going hungry, resorting to inadequate diets or skipping meals altogether.

In July last year, an anonymous donor provided a generous gift of $20,000 to Acorn that was passed onto Age Concern Tauranga. Knowing that many older people are hesitant to reach out for help, this donation was used to buy grocery vouchers for older residents in need in Te Puke and Tauranga.

National research also supports that people over 65 years old who are living on a fixed income, are struggling to afford food after paying for mortgage payments, rent, and bills. With these concerns in mind, staff at Tauranga City Council reached out to several local organisations to inquire if they were observing an increase in the number of people over 65 needing food support and how TCC could collaborate to address this issue. Subsequently, Super Support was established.

A working group was established consisting of Good Neighbour, Tauranga Community Foodbank, Age Concern Tauranga, Here2HelpU and Tauranga City Council. They were able to come together and operationalise a support system within a month of their initial conversation.

“Super Support has helped bridge a gap for seniors and conversations were started which in turn can bring other services to the person in need,” says Tanya.

Acorn has been a long-time funder of these organisations and have supported Here2HelpU since they arrived in Tauranga.

We love this collaboration and commend them for their work supporting our older community.

Super Support has now been running smoothly for eight months.

Tan Phuangdokmai, the Strategic Advisor: Disability and Ageing at Tauranga City Council and member of Acorn’s Distribution Committee, shared Super Support’s progress with us. “We believe it's time to expand our communication reach and offer this support beyond those who reside in Elder housing. We anticipate increased demand for Super Support from our broader aged community.”

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