This is an organisation that opened up after the benefit cuts of Ruth Richardsons and Jenny Shipley’s “mother of budgets!” where they cut all Govt benefits, including old age pensions by $10.00 and raised the rents of Housing New Zealand to market rents. That meant that most beneficiaries were spending 80% of their income on rent.
I used to help as a volunteer an organisation called “Poverty Action Coalition”, and this is my boss, Gene Dahm. At this time I was unemployed and this was a new experience for me. I helped him with the book work which was all done by hand. Simple operation, double entry book keeping not rocket science. I did the cashing up at the end of the day and the banking. Also did the correspondence as I had typing skills and other odd jobs for it.
My first day was the sight of other unemployed people there pointing the finger at each other and calling each other a thief. Never saw such a thing before. At the end of the week every volunteer got a food parcel each. I know one who did steal and why – so I gave her with the 6 children some of mine. In the end, I got tired of this tirade, got them all notebooks and they came up to the counter and what they got was written in the book whether it was paid for or not. We always got donations. Most of them were struggling to get by as I was at that time.
There was a shop close to where I lived in Onehunga, that opened up for people on the unemployment benefit, the sickness benefit, the invalids benefit or National Super retirement benefit. We bought and sold basic necessities cheaper than the shops with no goods and services charges on it, as we were allowed to as a charity organisation. Every time some one bought from us, they got something given to them for free. (Usually yoghurt near or just passed it’s used by date)
PAC also used to have a garden by the catholic church in Onehunga where people all of us helped in the garden but it was a waste of time, as we grew the vegetables, people living over the fence jumped into the garden and pinched the produce. So that was the end of that.
Now the services that were given were, food parcels, and budget advice and counselling if they needed it.
This is Desmond, I also met him at PAC he was a very willing helper along with another called Danny who helped me as well. There were several I could name, all were helpers and most unemployed. Desmond has diabetes and was very sick, could not do full time work. He died not long afterwards due to a long illness, of liver and renal failure. I painted the T shirts in these pictures of Desmond and also Gene’s.
Now, I was amazed by some things I found. The generosity of many New Zealand people. We had a couple that gave us over $35,000.00. I was blown away to see anyone could give that much. Many people gave, fridges, freezers, furniture and clothing to the needy.
However, I have seen all sides. Some people are greedy and want power, that includes some of the beneficiaries. Sorry to say there was a certain woman who gave 4 different names to 4 charity organisations to get free food parcels. She was well known to many of the charity organisations of Auckland. Always a fly in the ointment and ruins it for everyone else. No she did not work at PAC and I don’t know who she is.
Some people also stole Gene’s wallet.Some people broke into the building three times and made a huge mess each time, even thought they knew they could ask for food.
I still believe in supporting charities.
There are 10 lepers unclean and Jesus Christ healed all of them. Like the lepers, 10 beneficiaries asking for help. Only one comes back to give “Thanks!” and I will do it for the one who gives “Thanks”. I don’t know the difference between the ones who will and won’t.
If you throw a stone in a pond, it has a ripple effect. One person gives to those in need, one of the 10 do the same. It works.
We had homelessness in the 1990s and it’s much worse now. The funds of Charities are drying up because after a while people are tired of being endlessly asked for donations. You can’t save the world. However, I believe in helping one person at a time.
Now our shop had to close down, as we got too much money and my boss Gene Dahm later died. It was a learning post for me.
If a person is hungry best give them food not money. I don’t care about what race they are.
Racism can go all ways. Yes, it exists even in New Zealand. A lot is caused by bitterness towards people who wronged others in the past. You have to take into account that people don’t do evil because of their race, wealth, or other circumstances, regardless if they are black, white, or green with pink spots. They just don’t have any moral conscience. Most criminals offend because they think they are right. We have to change their mind.