Maraenui advocate awarded for work
It all started with a question, ‘‘where’s the food bank around here?’’
It was asked by a single parent to Adrienne Taputoro’s sister, which saw a food parcel created from the family’s own pantries and Maraenui Donations was born.
Nearly five years on the charity provides everything from bedding, furniture and food parcels, to lunches for schools, moral support and storage space for families forced into motels.
Taputoro has been involved with the project since its inception and received a Napier Pilot City Award last month, honouring her dedication to the community.
Doing the heavy lifting for Maraenui Donations has been hard.
‘‘It does my head in,’’ she said. ‘‘But the smiles on the faces of [people we help] is so worth it - that look of relief.’’
Almost everyone involved with the organisation had been through their own struggles, so anyone asking for help never needed to fear judgement or questioning.
‘‘It’s about giving people a hand - not making them feel bad.’’
One story she tells with great pride is a family who received donations a number of times while experiencing a rough patch.
‘‘I saw them at the supermarket [months later] - they were looking really good and had two full trolleys.
‘‘And the mum said, ‘one’s for you’.’’
The family, which had once relied on Adrienne’s organisation, was now able to help fill the pantries of others.
Taputoro sais there was still demand for food and warm bedding, plus a shortage of housing with some families forced to live in garages and sheds.
She estimated Maraenui have helped over 500 people since Christmas.
They also served the wider Hawke’s Bay community, with people contacting her from as far north as Wairoa and south as Waipukurau.
For her organisation to continue helping others, it needed food and items to pass on, plus funding to pay for overheads on its Onekawa site.
To donate or ask for help Maraenui Dontations could be reached through its Facebook page.
Other recipients of the Pilot City Awards, presented in May, include Mane Adams, Ross Duncan, Liam Farris, Winipere Eva Mauger, Mary Catherine Mills, Crete Pinkham, Rose Puna and Massey Teruki.
Winners of the 2017 Napier’s Pilot City Awards.