From the Momentum Waikato Annual Report 2021 - see full report in PDF.

SUPPORT: In late 2020 The Greatest Needs Appeal supplied grocery gift cards to Te Kuiti Community House Trust counsellors for giving to their clients in need.

The Greatest Needs Appeal was first launched in March 2020 as Momentum Waikato’s immediate response to the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Houchen’s and ‘Here to help u’ projects described elsewhere in this Annual Report were part of Momentum’s role as the flexible component of the Waikato Community Funders Group, which also included providing the public-facing function of the Appeal.

Momentum played its ‘connect and convene’ role as a community leadership foundation, getting the donated funds to effective front-line groups, meaning Greatest Needs Appeal donors could be sure their gifts were reaching the local places where they’d make the most difference.

This initial phase culminated in mid-2020 with the Greatest Needs Appeal being the benefactor for The Mighty Waikato Cookbook project coordinated by Waikato Civil Defence, which saw favourite restaurants donate recipes towards a hugely popular and award-winning fundraising e-cookbook.

DRY: Te Kuiti Community House gave raincoats to kids at Centennial School.

Funds from the cookbook and other lockdown initiatives continued to be distributed through 2020. Once the first Level 4 lockdown was over, the emphasis shifted from food to winter essentials like kids’ clothes, raincoats, blankets and firewood, which were distributed by front-line community groups like the Good News Community Centre in Hamilton, the Whangamata Community Services Trust and Te Kuiti Community House.

Then in mid-2021, the Greatest Need Appeal ramped up again during the period that the Auckland Lockdown was impacting the communities of the North Waikato.

Working with Community Waikato, Momentum sought and coordinated donations from a combination of business and individual contributors, including a significant donation from Golden Homes, that saw tens of thousands of dollars reach a range of ‘community pantries’ and other immediate support systems, most on what was then the hard ‘Auckland border’.

The front-line organisations welcomed this approach, saying they appreciated being trusted to know how best to spend the money and target the resources, ensuring impact without burdening anyone with excessive admin.

Momentum Waikato primarily exists to build long-term capacity and resilience for the region, but when the local need is immediate, as it has been through Covid, the community foundation has proven itself very able to step up and use its expertise and networks to great effect, for the benefit of the community here and now.