In 2013, when she felt her finances were out of control, Tee took what was an enormous step for her; she reached out for help. Now she’s part of the Visionwest family and a Whai Manaaki Kai regular...
“I was so down in the dumps about my finances that, in desperation, I contacted Visionwest. It was hard to ask for help. I wasn’t used to sharing about myself and I felt whakama (shame) that maybe the situation was my fault. Then I met Debbie [a Visionwest Financial Mentor]. I could see that she was listening and not judging me. I just let it all spill out. Debbie helped me sort my finances. It was unbelievable and I felt a huge weight lift off me.”
Through Debbie, Tee was introduced to Visionwest’s Pātaka Kai staff. It’s another meeting Tee says changed everything for her.
“When I came to the Pātaka Kai, I was basically living day by day. I would cry because of the shame I felt. I might go to the supermarket and look for canned spaghetti or something cheap like that but, once I’d paid all my bills, I couldn’t afford food for a proper meal. Visionwest changed all that.”
When Manaaki Kai (Visionwest’s social supermarket) opened earlier this year, Tee was one of the first shoppers. She now comes regularly and says it’s wonderful to open her pantry and see food in there.
Tee’s home was also adversely affected by the February floods that devastated parts of Auckland. At the height of the downpour, her ceiling collapsed, and water poured into her house.
“Our beds, bedding and clothes all got ruined but Visionwest gave my grandson [who lives with Tee] and I replacements for all these things. It was unreal. If not for that support, we’d have had nothing.
Hearing the way Tee speaks about Visionwest is incredibly refreshing. For her, Visionwest is whānau, a family she is overjoyed to be a part of; so much so that, when she speaks of Visionwest, she says, ‘we.’ “Visionwest gives me hope for the future and we’re going to have a good future here at Visionwest. I’m so thankful for Visionwest for helping others, for helping myself and for helping my family.”