The community arm of Auckland’s LIFE church has reopened its soup kitchens this week to help citizens of New Zealand’s major city who have been affected by the coronavirus.

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The government has introduced its Level 3 protocols, which has permitted a restart of this valuable initiative which serves people a hot, nutritious meal. LIFE has been forced to serve all meals are served in a contactless, takeaway format.

LIFE is New Zealand’s highest profile Pentecostal church. Many refer to it as the Hillsong of New Zealand, with its large conferences and ability to attract a young audience.

The heart behind LIFE Soup Kitchen has always been to bring help and hope to our communities through ensuring that the most vulnerable do not go hungry,” said Nick Edwards, a spokesperson for the church.

Staff at work at LIFE Church.

In a response to unprecedented current demand, LIFE has repurposed its church Campus at Manukau in Auckland’s south as a pop-up soup kitchen hub.

“We would normally serve hundreds of people each week and as anticipated we served hundreds more from our LIFE South Campus last night,” added Nick. “The location acted as a hub for pick-ups, drive thru collection and distribution by partner agencies in the community.”

A woman packs her car ready to deliver food.

LIFE Soup Kitchen normally operates out of five locations around Auckland but is currently reworking how it responds to need to comply with the government’s health guidelines.

“We know that families are hurting in our communities who rely on us every week for a meal, so being able to offer this support during this time is such a privilege for us”, concludes Nick.

In addition to the LIFE South location on Wednesday nights for the foreseeable future, there is another Soup Kitchen operating on an ongoing basis out of the Papakura Marae each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. More locations are expected to reopen in coming weeks.

As church attendees transition towards church online, we might be seeing the start of how churches will need to reach out to their communities to remain relevant now that services can be attended online.

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