Rising demand hits foodbanks

00:31, Aug 23 2011
food
Empty shelves: Hibiscus Coast Community House manager Christine Alesbury says donations of canned goods have not gone up to match demands.

The rising cost of living is seeing a massive increase in foodbank demand on the Rodney-Hibiscus Coast.

"We've seen a huge increase," Hibiscus Coast Community House manager Christine Alesbury says.

"Last year we handed out 319 packages, but already this year it's up to 240. And we're only halfway through the year."

However, food donations have not gone up in equal measure, and the community house seeks donations of canned goods not past their expiry dates.

"We get people dropping off expired canned goods which we're not able to use," Ms Alesbury says.

Although Coast Youth Community Trust has sufficient goods in its foodbank to meet current needs, an increase in demand will see the trust having to stock up.

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"Last year, we gave out about 85 food hampers," CYC Trust family service co-ordinator Allan Robertson says.

"This year demand for it has gone up by 30 percent.

"Whangaparaoa College raised around $1200 for our foodbank, which helped."

Hibiscus Coast Salvation Army has at least four customers a week coming to its foodbank, compared to one or two every month previously.

"The foodbank has been around but never quite publicised. It was more of an emergency outlet. But we have since decided to publicise it more," Hibiscus Coast Corps captain Craig Exxon says.

Mr Exxon says donations of rice, pasta and cereals are welcome.

A large increase in people seeking help with budgeting is reported by Hibiscus Coast Family Services.

The organisation, which provides members with budgeting and parenting advice, has seen 88 clients since December, compared to 37 clients during the same time last year.

The 5.3 percent rise in the consumer price index (CPI) for the year is another sign working people are being hit hard by the combination of GST and other government charges, plus big increases in food, electricity and petrol prices, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg says.

Mr Rosenberg says increasing reports of poverty and reliance on foodbanks show times are tough for many people.

Statistics New Zealand's June report shows the CPI has risen by 1 percent since March. Contributing factors are the price of transport – mainly fuel and airfares, groceries and electricity, up by 2.7 percent, 1.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively.

Rodney Times