155 Whare Kai, a social supermarket based in Whangārei has opened today to provide food support with dignity.
The social supermarket is a partnership between 155 Whare Āwhina and Foodstuffs North Island, the 100% New Zealand owned and operated co-operative behind New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square.
Social supermarkets enable people who are experiencing food insecurity to choose what they need for themselves in a supermarket-style environment – rather than collecting a pre-filled food parcel from the foodbank, that might not meet their specific needs.
155 Whare Āwhina’s CEO Liz Cassidy-Nelson says today is an exciting day for 155 Whare Āwhina and their community whānau.
“Here at 155, we do all we can to challenge injustice, inspire change and lead innovation locally. The past few years have been tough for so many, yet I’m constantly inspired by the resilience of our community. Now they can choose kai for their whare with dignity and mana, which is everyone’s right.
Cassidy-Nelson says the support from Foodstuffs North Island has been fantastic. We are so grateful to have them as a partner on this innovative project. They have been wonderful and incredible in sharing their expertise, knowledge and resources every step of the way.”
The social supermarket, 155 Whare Kai is located at 3 Woods Road in Whangārei and is an extension of the wrap-around community services 155 Whare Āwhina already provides for whānau in the Tai Tokerau community.
155 Whare Āwhina provides legal advice through their 155 Community Law centres, support for whānau and housing navigation. They also have a 155 Open Arms Day Centre which is a place for people who are facing homelessness to rest, have kai and seek support. It’s here they’ve been providing free food parcels via their foodbank and has now been turned into Whangārei’s first social supermarket.
155 Whare Kai social supermarket will operate in a way that offers groceries to shoppers at a low or no cost, using a points system rather than a recommended retail price. Shoppers have the flexibility and freedom to choose their own items from a wide selection of food and essentials – accessing a hand-up rather than a hand-out through a dignified shopping experience.
This is Foodstuffs’ fourth social supermarket partnership, following the success of the Wellington City Mission Social Supermarket, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia – which is a partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau and Tokoroa Social Supermarket, in partnership with Buttabean Motivation.
Willa Hand, Head of Membership Experience at Foodstuffs North Island says that each social supermarket is different, and uniquely tailored to the needs of the local community.
“That’s what makes this model work – our Foodstuffs’ team brings retail expertise, we support on all the logistics of setting up a supermarket, training a team to operate it, and sorting replenishment processes – but it’s the local community organisation who decides exactly how things will run and what the offering will be for customers.”
“Having strong local leadership who connect deeply with people in their community is what really makes a difference. Foodstuffs North Island is a 100% NZ owned co-operative, with individual grocers operating stores in their local community, we believe deeply in the power of local leadership and empowering people to make decisions that are right for their community.”
Foodstuffs North Island plans to roll out its social supermarket initiatives to more communities in the year ahead, and work is underway with community partners in a number of other regions.
The social supermarket programme is part of Foodstuffs’ pledge to be Here for NZ, helping to ensure all New Zealanders have access to healthy affordable food and supporting local communities to thrive.
You can learn more about Foodstuffs commitment to be Here for NZ here – https://www.foodstuffs.co.nz/here-for-nz/