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From little things big things grow

8 March 2019

The Hutt Valley team hit a milestone recently, when Mario’s Pantry delivered its 1,053 food item.

Mario in front of his pantry

Late last year, Hutt Valley Tenancy Manager, Mario came up with the idea of creating a pantry of bulk food items that Tenancy Managers could give to tenants, when needed.

The idea started with a sign over a cupboard, a few donated tins of food and an email to staff to donate goods.

Since then it’s grown with 1,053 donated food items delivered to 37 single tenants and 48 families in the Hutt Valley region. In addition last christmas 55 food parcels were delivered and 20 food parcels donated to Elim Church.

The Hutt Valley team of 30 staff continue to actively support this project with regular donations of food, cleaning products, sanitary items and nappies.

To expand on the pantry’s selection Mario and his colleague Teresa have developed a list of high value items that will fill up hungry tums like rolled oats, Weetbix, rice, pasta, tinned fruit and veggies, pastas sauces and crackers.

In 2019 they are looking to create specific care packs to provide additional support to tenants who are displaced due to house fires and have lost all their belongings.

Teresa and Mario are also creating partnerships with local supermarkets, food manufacturers and community groups to help them fill the pantry and encourage the donation of goods that are in high demand (such as nappies and sanitary items).

"The pantry enables Mario and his team to quickly select items a tenant may need and deliver them during tenancy visits. The donated items can also be used to support tenants and their whanāu when they have experienced a traumatic event or to simply put a smile on a tenants face when they are going through a tough time," says Regional Manager, Jackie Pivac.

"Mario’s Pantry is but one example of the range of initiative’s that Housing New Zealand does to help people live well in our homes and show deliberate care and kindness. The benefits of this are numerous, but most importantly, when people have a stable home, enough food on the table and the right support, they can start to put down roots, rebuild and eventually give back to their community."

Housing New Zealand would like to thank the following donors for their generosity and support of Mario’s Pantry:

  • Countdown Lower Hutt
  • Countdown Hutt Valley stores including Wainuiomata
  • Sanitarium
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Treasures
  • The Salvation Army Lower Hutt
  • The Common Unity Project Aotearoa

Read how Mario's pantry was started


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