You TubeFacebookTwitterflickrGoogle plus
Friday, 19 April 2019 12:23 am

City’s food banks reflect families’ stuggle

Aug 9th, 2008 | By | Category: News

AMID rising demand for food parcels, the head of regional food banks says benefits are not keeping up with food and fuel price rises.

Chairman of the Coalition of Wellington Regional Food banks, Kelvin Strong, says there has been a considerable increase in demand for food parcels.
“People are struggling to pay their power bill – and they end up with not enough money for food.”

At the Salvation Army Hope Centre in Newtown, team leader Mike Leon agrees there has been a marked increase in people needing food parcels in recent months.
“During the winter more are needed generally, but I would say the demand has increased around 50%.”

Both Mr Strong and Mr Leon say a different kind of clientele is now coming in to get food. There are more requests from the working poor.

Mr Strong says: “It has been noticeable in some areas that those on lower working incomes are coming in for food, whereas it used to be just people on benefits.”

Wellington City Mission gives out approximately 300 food parcels a month and has noticed only the usual winter seasonal increase in demand.

CEO Michelle Branney says most people who get food parcels at the mission are already on one of its programmes – getting budgetary advice, being assisted by a social worker, or getting help into government housing, for example.

Ms Branney says the recession has made people inventive. “They are tightening their budgets – learning to cook cheaper food, make the dollar go further.  Cheese, for example, is simply no longer on the menu.”

Elderly people may still buy enough food, but they will cut down on heating, which ultimately affects their health, she says.

Food banks continue to rely on donations from the public and Mr Strong says donations are still steady.
“We recently had an appeal and just about all the food banks reported record collections.  People are putting other people ahead of themselves.  We have got adequate stocks.”

Mr Leon cautions: “The donations have remained reasonably steady but because of the increase in demand the cupboards here can at times look empty.”

The Salvation Army offers a range of parcels, depending on the needs of family concerned – some will be to get them through the night, others for the week.

Criteria for receiving a food parcel vary at each food bank.  Some interview the client and ascertain whether they can access help from government sources, for example; others may require a Work and Income decline letter.  ID is almost always required.

PICTURE: Food bank manager Les Crozier and Team Leader Mike Leon at the Salvation
Army Hope Centre in Newtown

Tags: , , , , , ,

is a Whitireia Journalism student.
Email this author | All posts by

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radio News