Bringing the Future Forward with Assurity and The Foodbank Project

Explore Assurity 11 June 2020 Marcella Koopman

On 25 March at 23:59pm, New Zealand went into a lockdown. Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus, the country decided not only to flatten the curve, but to eliminate the virus.

For four weeks, we were at level 4 – no social contact, limited outdoors activity and only socialising with the people in our own bubble. Soon after, we saw a rapid decline in the number of cases.

On 9 June, NZ went down to level 1. We finally have zero active cases of Covid-19, there’s no more social distancing and life returns to a new normal. New Zealand has successfully kicked the butt of Corona!

What the country has achieved is exceptional, being one of the few countries in the world to eliminate the virus. But this success comes with a price… the negative impact Covid-19 has on the community is far-reaching, affecting not only our economy and businesses, but also the private living situations of many families.

“Our goal was to impact the lives of everyday people who have been most severely hit by the fallout from our sudden lockdown,’’ says Assurity’s Raf Gemmail, one of the organisers of our online Bring the Future Forward conference where the $5 sign-up fee for each ‘attendee’ was donated to New Zealand charity, The Foodbank Project. The topic of the conference was how Covid-19 has impacted our way of working.

 “Of all the causes we considered, The Foodbank Project stood out as one which can make a tangible and immediate impact for the hardest-hit New Zealanders. I am deeply touched by the work they do for our wider whānau of Kiwi families, who already have so much to worry about,” adds Raf.

The Foodbank Project

In 2015, in a first for New Zealand, The Salvation ArmyLucid and Countdown teamed up to create a brand-new, online store where you can make a donation to cover the purchase of much-needed grocery items for a local Salvation Army foodbank.

The Foodbank Project is an online shop where you, as a donor, can choose from a range of products that are critically needed for food parcels, including fresh products, meat, dairy, as well as personal care and cleaning items. You can shop either through key product categories, bundles, or most needed collections to select the item or items you would like to donate.

Countdown will then pack the order along with others received from the community and deliver it to the nearest Salvation Army Foodbank hub to include in their food parcels.

The Foodbank Project during Covid-19

During lockdown, The Salvation Army created over 30,000 parcels with the help of donations from The Foodbank Project. The parcels have been sent out to more than 21,000 households across the country. “The amount of donations to The Foodbank Project has been overwhelming for us. We were anticipating that, due to the lockdown and Covid-19, the donations would decline, but actually it has increased immensely” says Tessa Reardon, Business Partnership Manager for The Salvation Army and The Foodbank Project.

The Foodbank Project reaches out individually to every family to determine how best to help. Each parcel contains breakfast, lunch and dinner for the whole household for a total of five days.

Assurity’s Bringing the Future Forward conference

On Friday 5 June, Assurity held an online conference about the impact of Covid-19 on our way of working. This conference was also picked up by Stuff. With six guest speakers and a keynote from ICAgile’s Shane Hastie, it was a great event with lots of insights into our lives post-Covid-19. More than 70 people signed up for the event and the feedback was overwhelming. With an average satisfaction score of 8.9 out of 10, we can confidently claim that it was a great success!

We hosted the conference to share our collective knowledge on our changed world, but also to give something back to our community, which is why we asked for a small fee to donate to a New Zealand charity. “During the past few months, I have seen Covid-19 impact people's lives, taking family members, jobs and breaking the strongest resolve through unexpected hardship. The Foodbank Project has always been there to ensure families and their children do not have to forgo nutrition when faced with financial hardship. This should be a basic human right. We’re humbled to have helped in a small way”, adds Raf.

Our donation to The Foodbank Project

From the conference fees, we collected $350. On Friday, we were surprised to get not one, but two anonymous donations that matched the amount meaning an extra $700!

The Assurity Staff Charitable Trust (ASCT) exists to support staff and their families, as well as local NZ causes that are close to our staff’s hearts. This conference and The Foodbank Project are an example of how we can support local NZ causes, especially in times like these. A huge thanks to ASCT for donating another $650 to the amount raised from the conference.

This makes our total donation to The Foodbank Project a fantastic $1700! “With this donation, we’re able to help around 17 to 20 households. That’s basically a whole street!”, says Tess.

You can donate to The Foodbank Project via its website.