Having a shower, eating a hot meal, keeping warm, sleeping in a bed, are things most of us take for granted, but for some people these are luxuries in life. To support those in our community who are experiencing homelessness, a wellness day was held on Monday 15th August.
The Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) team put together packs to support some of the homeless who are living in their cars or sleeping outdoors. These included a wide range of camping and cooking equipment, storage and clothing. The packs were handed out on the day, along with the opportunity for health checks, health information, access to free kai, haircuts, toiletries, showers and gourmet coffee.
St Andrew’s Church hall was the ideal venue to support the day and whānau appreciated the chance to have a hot shower and brush their teeth. “Today is like a homeless Christmas,” said one person and another stated, “We are really grateful for today. It’s hard being homeless and we feel very isolated.”
Morning tea and lunch were also a highlight. Along with kai purchased through Ministry of Social Development funding, there was soup made by WRHN staff and rescued food from the Kai Hub. Zahid Mohammed, from the Coffee Culture cart provided free hot drinks, which everyone was excited about; with one person commenting that they had never had a ‘flash coffee’ before.
Many people came together to support this event. “Along with those already mentioned, we would like to acknowledge and thank Gael McDonnell for providing free haircuts, Nan Pirikahu-Smith at Te Oranganui for supplying Whānau Ora hygiene packs, Eddie and Sandra Tofa from Whanganui Rivercity Boxing for coordinating the venue, Animal Management staff for providing free dog food, and Tuera Pirikahu, the Homeless Ambassador from Stronghold Security, for facilitating access to whānau,” says Awhi Haenga, MSD Kaiārahi Navigator at Whanganui Regional Health Network.
“Homelessness and housing access continue to be an ongoing struggle, so we will continue to provide support to our community.”
Given the Hauora Day was such a success, with approximately 30 attending, there are plans for another event in the warmer months. If you are interested in being part of this, please contact Awhi at WRHN on (06) 348 0109, extn 718.
Photo attached: Tuera (left) and Awhi (right), handing out homeless packs to Ruby and Steven (middle)
For further comment please contact Whanganui Regional Health Network, Communications & Technology Coordinator, Karen Veldhoen on (06) 348 0109 extn 708