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Food bank has taste of its own medicine

Sep 26th, 2008 | By | Category: Latest News, News

DAVID Cross is used to handing out food parcels – but got a wake-up call when he had to live on one for a week.

He and other Wellington Downtown Community Ministry staff members gave up their usual foods for a week to see what it was like to live on the bank’s food parcels and try to think of ways to make them more appropriate for families.

Mr Cross says he soon got bored with the food in the parcel.

“It wasn’t very interesting. We found there was little-to-no fresh food and it was mostly high in carbohydrates.”

One staff member was constipated for the entire week.

“You lose your ability to have freedom on what to eat. You have to plan out what to cook each day if you don’t have an expendable income.”

Throughout the week they also talked a lot to their food bank clients to found out ways to improve.

They learned a lot from the experiment and will consider making improvements, such as adding juice to the parcels and not just tea and coffee.

“We need to up the fresh food count and be more flexible on how much we give. We have learnt that we can’t expect the parcel to last [everyone] the whole week.”

Director Stephanie McIntyre says the ministry is “in no way pretending that this brief experience will show us what it’s really like to eat regularly from the food bank”.

She says the idea came after meeting the Salvation Army worker, Les Crozier, who began working at the Hope Centre recently. “He has been doing a similar experiment with his family to find out first-hand the type of foods served up in a food parcel.”

The Downtown Community Ministry provides about 30 families with food parcels every week.

The ministry is a community-based centre established in 1969 to provide aid for disadvantaged families. It continues to provide support and advocacy for those in need in the inner city.

The food bank relies on public donations. Food can be dropped into food bins at City New World or directly into the office at Compassion House, Luke’s Lane, Marion Square.

Picture: Food Bank diet not the healthiest.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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