Dame Patsy's visit to Auckland City Mission found the organisation in good heart, after being on the front lines helping Aucklanders in desperate need navigate the Covid-19 crisis.
Demand for food parcels doubled during lockdown and has yet to fall. Mission staff also had to reinvent every single service in order to continue to help those who needed it, with some of the changes set to be permanently incorporated into the Mission's way of working.
Dame Patsy heard from GM Social Services Helen Robinson and GM Corporate Services Roger King about the generosity and bravery that was shown to and by staff and volunteers at the Mission. They reported that while there was anxiety around what they could afford to do, there was enormous support from Aucklanders.
Dame Patsy was able to thank staff and volunteers and also received a briefing on Mission Homeground, the ACM's new home currently being built.
There was plenty of symbolism surrounding Dame Patsy's visit. Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly noted that the organisation was founded in the aftermath of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and as they celebrate their 100th year, they're having to manage another one. It was also the first official vist to Auckland City Mission by a Governor-General since Lord Bledisloe visited in 1931, the earliest days of the Depression.