In addition to help with food, medication and transport, items used to keep warm are also available through the Waikato Welfare Call Centre on 0800 800 405.
This includes blankets, hot water bottles, basic clothing and firewood.
Western Waikato Emergency Operations Centre (WWEOC) Duty Controller, Wayne Allan said basic needs, including warmth, are able to be accessed through the helpline.
“Staying warm and fed are basic human rights, so if you need some blankets, basic clothing, small amounts of firewood or hot water bottles as well as food, medication or transport to essential appointments, please call the 0800 number,” Allan said.
Low numbers of referrals to the WWEOC have prompted Allan to remind all Ōtorohanga, Waitomo and Waipa residents that the service is open to all people, 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week.
“There has been some confusion that the helpline is only available to our elderly or vulnerable residents, however I want to clarify this,” Allan added.
“The helpline is not exclusive; it is open to everyone who is struggling to get emergency assistance for the basics such as food or medication.
“It does not discriminate against age, race, religion, status, gender or otherwise so please use it if you are finding it hard to get those basic necessities.”
Allan said the timeline between the first phone call and getting help is typically 2-24 hours, however low call volume means many in the Western Waikato districts are getting help within two hours.
“We do find there is a drop in calls for assistance over the weekend, however we are concerned that people are going without essential food or other household goods in order to get through.”
People calling into the Welfare Centre will go through a short needs assessment where they are directed to the local welfare team.
People can access the survey for assistance with groceries, transport, medication, essential appointments, foodbanks and a ‘buddy’ system for those requiring a more wrap-around support service.
The Waikato Welfare Call Centre is available for people across the Waikato region including local communities in Ōtorohanga, Hauturu, Honikiwi, Kāwhia, Maihiihi, Oparau, Otewa, Owhiro, Puketotara, Te Kawa, Wharepuhunga, Te Kuiti, Waitomo, Te Maika, Kawhia, Taharoa, Mokau, Aotea Harbour, Maniaiti/Benneydale, Cambridge, Te Miro, Ohaupo, Te Awamutu, Pirongia, Kihikihi, Ngahinapouri and surrounding areas.
Public Information Manager - Western Waikato Emergency Operating Centre
027 382 3218 | firstname.lastname@example.org