Air New Zealand has donated 15,000 food items, including cookies, bliss balls, fudge, crackers and muesli, to a South Auckland food bank in the airline’s latest good deed during the coronavirus crisis.
The move came after 10 cabin crew members volunteered to pack 400 boxes a day for Mangere Budgeting Services Trust and Food Bank during ‘Alert Level 3’ of the country’s super-restrictive lockdown.
The staff packed parcels that included essentials like non-perishable food stuffs, fresh fruit and vegetables, lunch box items for kids, and health packs featuring shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Air New Zealand flight service manager Gina Eberle said, “I knew the organisers were short of volunteers and some of my colleagues were wanting to get involved.
“It was really alarming how quickly the food ran out. It put the pandemic into perspective – everyone has their own thing going on.”
During the crisis, the airline has found ever-more inventive ways to use its downtime to help the community.
Previous coronavirus gestures included donating 8,000 in-flight blankets, now no longer in use, to organisations and shipping 2,000 treats, including 190 boxes of Cookie Times and One Square Meal bars, to essential workers in police stations, hospital and charities.
The business also moved to allow customers to donate their frequent flyer points to three charities, which can then redeem them on essential services such as food, heating and petrol.
Mangere Budgeting Services Trust and Food Bank CEO Darryl Evans said, “A busy week used to see 250 food parcels being distributed but, since COVID-19 really hit in late March, demand has skyrocketed to over 2,700 parcels a week, with a three-hour queue forming daily.
“Air New Zealand’s donation means more food items, so many people in need in our community will continue to receive food parcels this winter when it could not be more needed. We’re also really grateful to the cabin crew who gave their time and support during Alert Level 3.”