Helping Hands of Devonport Feb 2017 & Aug 2018
Helping Hands of Devonport is an organization that helps to provide the homeless of Auckland, New Zealand with food, clothing and hygiene products. The organization consists of wonderful women who volunteer their time to feed approximately 140 homeless people. The organization runs on only donations. Often times the volunteers cover many costs from their own pockets that the donations do not.
Every Tuesday at 18:45 Helping Hands of Devonport put their stand up and all the homeless come to enjoy a home cooked meal. Of the homeless they feed, there are eight that cannot walk, so they go up to them and give them a meal. Many of the homeless that are fed through this organization come from homes with violence, have mental illnesses and many of the youth on the streets have come from very violent homes. Many youths find it safer on the streets than in their very own homes. Helping Hands of Devonport serves a varied menu that includes chili con carne, chicken curry with rice, macaroni and cheese, corn fritters and desserts such as ambrosia, flan, strawberry cakes and watermelon. They change the menu every week depending on the food they have been given. Women and children always line up first for food and everyone says grace before their meal.
While we were there, we gave them lots of hygiene products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, sanitary items for women, soap, shampoo & conditioner, wipes, many paper plates, knife & forks, plastic cups, serviettes, tea & coffee, raisins, milk powder, chocolate drink mix, juice mix, laundry detergent, deodorant, cotton buds, shaving equipment for men, underwear for both men and women, crackers, biscuits, noodles and wash cloths. It felt great to contribute and donate to this wonderful project that helps so many people.
We returned to Helping Hands in August 2018 to help support further. Every Tuesday and Sunday night, approx. 150 people show up at the Auckland Library for a meal. The majority of the people they feed are males between 40-60 years, but now also women, children and teenagers are turning up. Some of the people coming are addicted to drugs. They explained that the drug dealers sell the drugs at a very cheap price in the beginning and then once the person is addicted they increase the price. There have also been cases where there has been rat poison added to the drugs.
It is not only homeless people coming, there can also be people with low-incomes who cannot afford food but have somewhere to live, such as a friend’s couch. We helped support with clothes, hygiene products, blankets, and eating utensils. We joined with ten other people to help set up the tables and food. There was already a long line of people forming to receive a meal. We plated all the food for each person. They were all very hungry. Some brought plastic containers to take seconds with them home. We met a mother of 14 and some of her children who come here to get a proper meal. We also spoke with a man who lives under the harbor bridge, who comes every week. He said that these nights were the best nights of the week for him!