In a recent talanoa on 531 Pacific Mornings radio show, Pasifika Futures (PFL) – the Whānau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families – CEO Mrs Debbie Sorensen reassured Pacific families across the country that their wide range of support is still available and accessible for all who need immediate or interim assistance.
“The support is still available for families. The support is really wide ranging and families shouldn’t be shy about talking to our team about what they need.
Food boxes are still available and the food boxes are enough to feed a family of five for a week. They include the staples, vegetables, fruit and meat.”
Mrs Sorensen says families should feel confident that their needs will be met as the support does not stop at just food.
PFL support includes providing pet food for families with pets, providing essentials for families with babies and small children, mental health support through the Ngalu Fānifo initiative (this includes the weekly Wednesday afternoon segments on 531) and MIQ or emergency housing assistance.
“There’s also support to pay your rent because we know that quite a lot of people are still not working. If you need your rent paid it’s really important to say so.
If you can’t pay your hot water bill then tell someone because we need you to have hot water in the house – that’s a health issue.”
She says the demand for support is becoming broader too, with support looking more long term for some families.
“Now what we’re seeing is people worried about being kicked out of their houses, losing their cars, having their power and phones cut off.
Those things become much more important as we move along because there’s no certainty at the moment for some people when they might go back to work.
As we move through this, some people might find their jobs don’t exist anymore and so they will need to transition into longer term support.”
Mrs Sorensen emphasizes that families should feel comfortable to ask for support because we are all in this fight against Covid together.
“We’re a community of faith and family. Have faith that we will make it through this, that things will get better and that our families are going to hold us together. When I say family, I mean our collective family.
We will be okay, we are resilient, we are navigators and we come from a strong history in the Pacific.”
Families who have received food boxes have sent messages of gratitude for the support provided by PFL. Reverend Sela Pomelile, Minister for the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Ōtāhuhu, expressed her appreciation for the support members in her congregation had received.
“Your act of kindness and concern for our families in this hard time is much appreciated. We count your contributions as a blessing which is much needed for our families.”
Date: Thursday 07 October 2021