Pae Kai: ka pai kai!

Dayll McCahon had a vision to help feed community members in times of need. She tells how this vision came to fruition with the creation of Pae Kai and its delicious meals.

L-R: Glenda Richardson, Doris Zuur and Dayll McCahon. Photo: Jan Borland

The idea of Pae Kai came to me in May 2019 while reading online about a group of people in the Moutere area. They were cooking and freezing simple meals which were then made available free to anyone in their community who was in need. I remembered times when I had had three children at home, with Olly and me juggling work and study, then illness would strike, or trauma of some kind. How often I had wished a good fairy would magically appear with meals!

A Paekākāriki Tauhokohoko notice led to a coffee meeting with Christina Hood and Doris Zuur. Christina had been involved with something similar in Paris and Doris had catering experience. How to reach folk not on Facebook was foremost in our minds, so in July, between us we printed and distributed 800 fliers to all local letter boxes, although, “Oh no!”, we forgot about the group over the railway line. We were alerted to this omission and they were included the next time with the bright yellow ones.

In August 2019 a meeting in St Peter’s Hall drew about 20 interested people and a working group of around five was established, including Jan Borland, Glenda Richardson and one or two other stalwarts. Tim Barlow designed the logo – what a help that was. The first meal was cooked in September, a freezer having been sourced in the village, and a special Christmas meal was also prepared. Jan designed the labels and we were away, with catering caps donned to prevent those pesky grey hairs shedding, and gloves and masks when boxing up.

How to source suitable containers was troubling us until we spoke to the Beach Road Deli people, who came to our aid and have been supplying them ever since. The boxes are sugar cane derivatives, therefore compostable while the latest lids are recyclable, important considerations in our community.

Photo: Jan Borland

So, while we began doing communal cook-ups, with Covid-19 it has morphed into folk doing a big slow cooker or two, or meat dish meal, in their own homes. An advantage of this is that there is better variety if a whānau needs two nights of meals. We just aim to help out for one or two nights if we can and do not commit to anything regular because we all have busy lives! The service is confidential and non-judgmental: I believe we cannot know what stress another person is feeling.

A huge thanks are due to all our wonderful donors. A big worry at the start was how to fund the food but thanks to people’s regular or occasional donations, so far we have not had to be concerned on this front. We are also grateful to our occasional extra helpers and hopefully we can continue to meet the need in the community in this way.

So, if you or a neighbour are going through a tough time where some meals would help, do get in touch!

Dayll 0274051109, Glenda 0273124630, Doris 0272811570 or email to [email protected]             Koha to 06 0730 0391648 00

For more information, click here.

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