Social supermarket for Otumoetai 

Social supermarket for Otumoetai 

Walking arm in arm with the community is the driving force behind a new social supermarket set to open in the Tauranga suburb of Otumoetai. Foodstuffs North Island and Linkt Community Trust are partnering to bring a social supermarket to the region, providing a neighbourhood that’s connected through kai.

Set to open next month, Linkt Community Trust Founders John and Jackie Paine are excited by the prospect of the social supermarket in partnership with the 100% owned and operated co-operative Foodstuffs North Island.

Foodstuffs is committed to backing locally led projects that make a difference, and this will be the 100% NZ owned co-operative’s fifth social supermarket location. The Wellington City Mission Social Supermarket opened in March 2021, Te Hiku Pātaka in Kaitaia opened in June 2022– in partnership with Te Kahu Oranga Whānau, the Tokoroa Social Supermarket opened in August– in partnership with BBM and Whare Kai opened in September in partnership with Whare Āwhina.

“We believe that by strengthening and connecting the existing community support networks through the addition of a social supermarket will make for a place where our community has access to affordable, safe, nutritious kai,” Jackie Paine said.

The Linkt Trust founders have spent the last 14 months surveying and collecting data from dozens of local community organisations throughout Otumoetai and surrounding suburbs.

“We believe everyone has something to bring to the table, so that we all have the ability to get through the times of hardship together,” said Jackie Paine.

When it’s fully operational, the social supermarket will provide wrap–around support for shoppers – with specially trained staff who can refer shoppers on to social workers, financial mentors, and onto other forms of support. The aim is to support and enable shoppers so that one day, they won’t need to rely on the social supermarket anymore.

Foodstuffs North Island Head of Membership Experience, Willa Hand says, this initiative is an important part of the co-operative’s promise to be Here for NZ, making a commitment to ensure everyone in Aotearoa has access to healthy food and supporting communities to thrive. “When people need a helping hand, they come to food services and more often than not just get given what they get given. That’s helpful, but it doesn’t take into consideration cultural needs, allergies, food likes and dislikes,” she said. 

“The intention is to have a range of products on the shelves in our social supermarket that enables them to come in, have the dignity of choosing the products they need themselves, so they can make the kind of meals they want to cook, shopping in an environment that looks and feels like a normal supermarket.”

Partnering with Foodstuffs provides local organisations with the knowledge, skills and support to successfully run a social supermarket for whānau in need in their community, with the overall goal of reducing food poverty in New Zealand.

Linkt Trust are determined the new Social Supermarket set to open in Tauranga will enable local Otumoetai shoppers to make their own mana enhancing choices and provide opportunities for whanau to thrive. “We want to say a special thanks to the Foodstuffs community of stores and our buddy stores New World Brookfield and PAK’nSAVE Cameron Road for backing this,” says John Paine.

Otumoetai Social Supermarket is set to open on Tuesday 1st November.

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