Lockdown Hero - Dinah Pili
For over seven years, Dinah Pili has volunteered every week day at VisionWest Community Trust’s Pātaka Kai (food service). Over the Covid-19 period, this passion and commitment to the cause of feeding West Auckland saw Dinah go above and beyond all expectations.
During the time of Level 4, VisionWest’s Pātaka Kai delivered over 4,500 food parcels to over 18,000 families. That’s over $782,000 worth of food that Dinah and the team needed to unload, package and deliver to vulnerable whānau in our community.
In the midst of this, Dinah worked tirelessly. A typical day would stretch from around 6:30 am to early evening, beginning with the unloading of donated food as it arrived before packaging this into parcels ready for delivery. At the peak of demand, 900 food parcels were packed in one day.
When asked why she volunteers, Dinah answers, “Because it’s what I want to do. Many years ago, I was homeless and lived at the VisionWest emergency house. When I had a need, they helped me and gave me hope.
"Now I want to give back and help others just like I was helped.”
Dinah admits that, at the beginning of lockdown, she was a little worried about Covid because of all the information in the news media. She was never scared, though. Her passion for the job overwhelmed any concerns.
“The need of others to have food on their table got me out of bed each day,” she explains. “It wasn’t just me, though. The team was made up of many helpers and volunteers. It was very physical labour but everyone worked hard to get the job done.”
Dinah says the team down at the Pātaka Kai was like family. In fact, Dinah’s adult children and the adult children of other helpers worked together to ensure the huge volume of food was packaged and delivered without a hitch. “Having my children helping me was great. It made sense because we were all in one bubble anyway, so we could work together safely.”
Dinah’s selfless volunteering alongside others truly shows the benefit of working together as thousands of people were helped with food during the lockdown and in the weeks since.
National Volunteer Week is a time to showcase the many individuals that came together, like Dinah, to support their local communities, Who was your Dinah Pili in your community?
If you want to help others or a cause take a look at our current volunteering opportunities to help make a difference in your community. Or if you are a non-profit organisation and need some helpers, you can find out how to add your volunteer listings here. For corporates, take a look at our employee volunteering programme to see how we can help your team help the community. Otherwise, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi - The Benefit of Working Together