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Covid-19 leaves Wellington hungry for compassion

Compassion Soup Kitchen team

For a second year running, Covid-19 has forced the cancellation of the Compassion Soup Kitchen’s annual street appeal and exponentially escalated Wellington’s appetite for its service. 

This year marks 120 years of service in Wellington and they are experiencing the highest sustained demand in their history due to Covid-19.

The Compassion Soup Kitchen relies on donations to continue with their mission of supporting people in need to live with dignity in the community, so the cancellation of their street appeal is ill-timed.

“The street appeal is our biggest fundraiser of the year – it ensures we can continue to provide food for Wellington, but we had to prioritise the health and safety of our volunteers and wider community,” says Compassion Chief Executive, Dr Chris Gallavin.

We learned last year that lockdown brings with it an increased demand for our service, but we did not imagine we’d be serving this many meals daily.”


Over the past twelve months the soup kitchen served 31,588 meals in the capital and set a record for number of meals served with 200 meals leaving the kitchen in one day.

This year’s lockdown saw that record surpassed immediately as they provided meals for individuals and other social service providers such as Wellington City Mission, Women’s Refuge, and Wellington Homeless Women’s Trust.

Dr. Chris says, “Within the first few days of Level 4, we were providing 230 meals a day and now we are serving around 220 meals a day, seven days a week – quite possibly the most sustained demand we have seen in our 120 year history.”

Compassion Soup Kitchen Team in Kitchen. They have set up two separate teams during lockdown that never cross paths, so if a member of one of their teams is exposed to Covid-19, they can continue serving while a whole team isolates.

With record demand, Gallavin urges New Zealanders to continue supporting the Compassion Soup Kitchen and is hopeful for their online alternative.

“As an essential service, we are committed to serving nourishing meals to those that need it most as we usually would so, we ask that the public show us the same generosity they usually would, albeit online.”

You can donate to the Compassion Soup Kitchen’s annual appeal at donate

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About Compassion Soup Kitchen

The Compassion Soup Kitchen, founded by Suzanne Aubert, has been operating in Wellington for 120 years and enacts the mission of Suzanne Aubert – to support people in need to live with dignity in the community – by providing nutritious meals and social support.



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