Ekta, which has been distributing food weekly since early winter in the entertainment area of the Wellington CBD, had a surprise visitor on Saturday, August 3 – the Mayor of the city Justin Lester. 

Mr Lester who had heard of the work that Ekta and its partners (Amma NZ and Coexistence) has been doing, decided to pop in to thank and encourage the team.

He not only stood at the stand to distribute food and blankets but also accompanied members of the team to walk the streets to give out the packets.

Commenting on the efforts that the Wellington Council was doing, Mayor Lester said that significant funding was being spent to take care of the problem of the homeless in Wellington.

“About 7500 units are expected to be built in the next 10 years,” Mr Lester said.

“In addition to temporary and permanent housing, the Council was also working with several agencies both in the civic and public sectors to alleviate issues of medical/dental and mental care, addiction and community involvement,” Mr Lester further added.

In thanking Ekta, Mayor Lester also said that the efforts demonstrated that the Council’s initiatives and efforts in building an inclusive society were paying dividends as now ethnic communities were getting involved in the larger community issues that concerned the whole city.

Jasvinder Kaur, the project leader for Ekta’s initiative told The Indian Weekender that not only was the mayor’s visit motivational but a spur to do much more.

“In addition to the food and blankets, Ekta was also looking into what could be done for the elderlies in our community.

“And one idea that Ekta was considering was to do cultural activities at some of the retirement homes,” Ms Kaur said.

Ms Kaur also said that the food distribution will continue till Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary and all were welcome to participate.