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155 Whare Kai calls for shelf sponsors: We’re running on empty

Whangārei’s busy social supermarket is calling on local businesses and community donors to help keep their shelves stocked as they mark their first birthday.

It's been a busy first year for 155 Whare Kai.

One year on and the social supermarket is struggling to supply $7,500 to $17,500 worth of groceries every week to cater for the 50 to 55 free shopping slots available to the community, says 155 Whare Kai manager Samantha Cassidy.

“We’re running at capacity and we’re struggling to meet demand,” says Samantha, who receives 150 to 200 requests to shop each week.

“We get roughly 50 calls and emails a day between Monday and Thursday. The need has been rising and rising since we opened, and has surged in the past couple of months,” she says.

Requests are prioritised through the social supermarket’s voicemail and emails, and the 155 Whare Kai team offers assistance on how to request support from Work and Income to those who miss out.

Samantha says while some kai is donated by Foodstuffs, local supermarkets, food producers and local businesses who support our mahi, it is not enough.
In the year the social supermarket has been open the financial landscape has changed considerably.

“The COVID-related funding we received when we opened has long dried up but it’s the increasing price of food that’s stretching us with very little budget to work with,” she says.

In an effort to ease the pressure, the social supermarket is inviting local businesses and the community to sponsor a shelf.

Just like a supermarket, 155 Whare Kai provides necessities including freezer items such as meats, frozen veg, chiller items such as butter, cheeses, milks and creams, hygiene products, breakfast foods, oils and sauces, laundry, cleaning and toilet products, and baking essentials.

Shelf sponsors can choose to sponsor a shelf in return for having their logo or name visible on the shelf for the chosen period of time and a post of appreciation on 155 Whare Āwhina’s social media channels.

If you would like to sponsor a shelf or donate to 155 Whare Kai, click here