The Search Party Charitable Trust may not be a name familiar to most. But the organisation has been at the heart of Te Puke for seven years, keeping the community connected, fed, and educated through their many initiatives.
From free pizza nights and weekly cooking classes teaching families how to make food go further, to a collaborative project supporting homeless clients by keeping them practically busy with backyard tidy-ups for those in need, TSPCT doesn’t fit the usual box of an organisation.
The hub that feeds the operations of the charity is The Daily Café.
Run with a not-for-profit ethos, it is a well-known community asset that not only produces delicious food and coffee, but does so in order to fund the many community initiatives The Search Party Charitable Trust run.
Before COVID-19, TSPCT were producing around 80 meals a month for families in need. When lockdown came into place, the charity saw a 2000 per cent increase in people requiring emergency meals, jumping to 400 meals a week.
The Search Party General Manager Clint Reha says the lockdown brought to the surface a much larger need in the community that they weren’t aware of prior to COVID-19.
“We worked collaboratively with other local Te Puke organisations like Empowerment NZ, Nga Kakano and Poutiri Trust to ensure we could provide these meals. While we have familiar faces we usually support, the lockdown showed just how fine a line so many people are on between surviving and going hungry in our community.
“Now we are out the other side, we have identified this is an ongoing need in our community we would like to continue to meet and even expand on our services in these areas in general.”
Clint says the charity expects to see significant job loss in the community, with people struggling to meet their basic needs.
“We are likely to see ongoing and potential increase of challenges with mental health, stress, depression, and isolation.
“We are continuing to provide ongoing emergency meal support and are working towards sustainable options and increase in this area.
“We would also like to provide a range of other initiatives in collaboration with several organisations we have developed partnerships with during COVID-19 such as a soup kitchen initiative, and developing our food courses to meet a wider range of audiences.”
Daily Café chef Andrew Fletcher and his wife Marine preparing all the emergency meals during lockdown while in their ‘bubble’.
With no income coming in from the Daily Café during the lockdown, The Search Party Charitable Trust sought funding through the Rapid Response Fund, established by local funders TECT, Acorn Foundation, BayTrust and Tauranga City Council.
The $7045 in funding covered the cost of food, packaging, and delivery for two weeks, and IT equipment to ensure their General Manager could work from home and coordinate the distribution of meals.
Clint says they are incredibly grateful for the funding, and the funders’ belief in their provision of service.
“We are so thankful for all of those behind the Rapid Response Fund. We could not possibly have met the needs of our community on the level we achieved without their support and encouragement.
“The equipment allowed us to follow COVID-19 restrictions by working remotely but still achieving high levels of efficiency and allowing us to promptly meet those in need. We were able to meet the basic needs of our community - feeding families so they could have one less thing to struggle with during this challenging time.”
The funders have now moved to phase two of their COVID-19 funding support with the WBOP COVID-19 Recovery Fund.
Applications are now open to this fund, supporting Western Bay not-for-profits and NGOs to survive the initial impact of COVID-19 and ensure continued service delivery, capability to deliver and ability to meet financial commitments.
To apply today, visit https://www.tect.org.nz/covid-19-recovery-fund/.
To learn more about The Daily Café and The Search Party Charitable Trust, visit https://thedailycafe.co.nz.