Shanti Niwas steps up Free Food Drive for the needy in Auckland

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Venkat Raman

Venkat Raman

Auckland, September 18, 2021

Government provides additional $69.31 million to associations

                               

                                             Nilima Venkat with Shanti Niwas colleague Jyoti Parashar (Photo Supplied)

 A small group of dedicated volunteers at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust have been working quietly distributing food parcels to the needy sections of communities hit hard by the current lockdown in Auckland.

With the coming week’s tally, they would have enabled about 1000 people to have a bagful of essential items including dhal, rice, poha (flattened rice), cooking oil, garam masala, chili powder, tomato (tinned), potato, tea and milk (two litres).

Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust is among the charities and entities designated by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as a ‘Community Connector’ and as such receive funds for purchase and distribution of food item.

Additional $10 million this month

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni said that the government has allocated an additional sum of $10 million this month to support the needy in Auckland with supply food and essential items.

The latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute additional 50,000 food parcels and 20,000 essential wellbeing packs, she said.

“Our government is focused on keeping New Zealanders safe from Covid-19. We are committed to also ensuring that people, whanau and communities are able to continue accessing the support they need, especially households who are self-isolating, she said.

Ms Sepuloni said that since August 17, 2021, the day on which Auckland was placed under lockdown, Alert Level Four, the government has provided $69.31 million in additional funding to organisations serving various communities.

 

Supplies being delivered at Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust in Onehunga (Photo Supplied)

Shanti Niwas General Manager Nilima Venkat said that the items are carefully chosen to be useful for the members of the South Asian communities, who are among the main clients of the Charitable Trust.

Contactless delivery

Community Leader and Radio Tarana Presenter Hemant Parikh, who has been helping Shanti Niwas as an external volunteer said that the team is dedicated and diligent.

“They do not seek publicity but reach the needy sections of the communities through the social media, Radio Tarana, Indian Newslink and volunteers. Shanti Niwas has been serving the communities for almost 28 years, especially the elderly and the vulnerable. We also go across to the homes of people who cannot travel and provide contactless delivery,” he said.

Ms Venkat that the items provided are varied every week to provide variety and in consonance with the needs of people who receive them.

 

Hemant Parikh, Nilima Venkat, Jyoti Parashar, Neelu Ghai, Priya Ramrakhiani 

Online Facebook Form

“We have devised an online form which is available on our Facebook Page. Those in need should complete (including their names and other details and their Car Registration Number) and submit the form on the same page. We will advise people about the date and time and delivery. Our volunteers adhere to the rules of social distance, masking and other requirements of the current Alert Level. Registration of cars is checked as they enter our Complex, after which our volunteers place the bags in the boot of the car. There is no conversation, no contact,” she said.

About Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust

Established formally in 1994 with just eight persons who attended a monthly meeting of a support group, the entity has grown to be recognised as a body that sincerely cares for the elderly and the larger community, irrespective of ethnicity, language or religion.

The Trust was registered as a not-for-profit organisation in 1998.

“Today, Shanti Niwas is a premier South Asian NGO supporting more than 300 South Asian Seniors regularly from four centres in Auckland through its Positive Ageing Programmes and Drop in Centres. None of these projects would have become a reality without the help of our volunteers,” Ms Venkat said.

In 2012, the Trust started ‘Khushi,’ a Programme to create awareness on the abuse that elders suffer within the community.

 
Food parcels ready to go from Shanti Niwas Charitable Trust in Onehunga 

 

“The Programme soon led to the setting up of our Emergency Home to accommodate seniors. ‘Shanti Niwas Emergency Home’ provides a safe and secure environment for seniors who are in an abusive environment or require an emergency home. The home has housed more than 30 persons since its inception in late 2015. Two years later, the Social Development Ministry contracted us for their Elder Abuse Response Service,” Ms Venkat said.

Companionship through ‘Dosti’

Shanti Niwas instituted in 2014, ‘Dosti’ (Friendship), an initiative aimed at reducing isolation among homebound seniors. Volunteers of the Trust visit more than 30 seniors regularly.

“We have ambitious plans to increase the number of services and Centres to cater to the growing senior South Asian population, expected to grow to 45,000 over the next 20 years. We hope to increase and improve our services with the support of the central and local governments, commercial organisations, philanthropic trusts and individual donors, “ Ms Venkat said.

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