Foodbank feels the strain 

By Ricky Lam

Demand for help from Te Awamutu’s foodbank continues to rise at a time when donations have fallen.

“We have had a sharp rise in the number of people seeking food from the foodbank,” Maree Richardson from Te Awamutu Combined Church said.

The combined churches are among several groups in the region offering food packages and they have seen a sharp rise in demand from people who are self-isolating.

“There were a number of close contacts when Covid hit Te Awamutu who had to self-isolate, and District Health Board advised them to contact us for assistance,” Maree said.

“We are a small food bank, and we are unable to store large volumes of food. During the lockdown, the number of food parcels has stripped our resources, and we have not been receiving the usual amount of food donations.”

Pick up services are still under social distance restrictions, and volunteers have been offering their services to help with deliveries.

“All our deliverers are volunteers, and a number are in the at-risk group. We are very fortunate to have others who have stepped up to help as all our food parcels are delivered.”

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has provided a grant to assist with additional costs, but there are concerns about how the services will be sustained, she added.

“Traditionally the December to January period is the high demand period, without Covid.”

“At this stage, we are in a position to meet the need, but we can see that our cash reserves will not hold out if the demand continues.”

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