More relying on food bank
A soaring number of residents living in and around Ranui are relying on support from food banks to stave off hunger.
During the last quarter of 2012 the number of food parcels given out by the Ranui Baptist Community Care Foodbank has increased by 93 per cent compared with the same period in the previous year.
Ranui Baptist Community support worker Graham Davis every week faces a queue of desperate families and the rate of change in demand is accelerating with 50 parcels given out weekly.
"The shortage of housing is playing a big role in the poverty out there. People have big rents and they're struggling to afford it.
"And right now will be very tough with school starting and all the costs associated with uniforms and stationary."
Every Monday and Friday morning the food bank opens to deliver parcels of goods including spaghetti, baked beans and cereal to give people a helping hand.
It's not a free-for-all and recipients are allowed two parcels before they are required to see the organisation's budgeting service, after which they are allowed four more parcels.
Mr Davis says while the food bank only caters for people in the Ranui area, it has encountered people who travel from as far away as Helensville and Hobsonville with social workers.
"We have people come here when they have no where else to go, when they just need a roof over their head for a night."
Ranui is rated 10 on the social depravation index which indicates increased rates of unemployment and solo parent families and lawlessness.
Mr Davis encounters signs of poverty daily.
"We have people come in who may not have money to feed their kids tonight or this week.
"Some kids come in wearing the only clothes they have and we have many parents who can't afford to go to the doctor."
Graeme Stewart, who manages funding for the community group, says this financial year the charity has been well supported by a number of philanthropic organisations but he's unsure what funding will be carrying on.
"We're very aware that we'll hit a wall in July with and we've got no assured funding."
Mr Stewart says the organisation is looking for businesses and philanthropists who can help support the food bank.
Mr Stewart says the majority of people who visit the food bank are sickness beneficiaries and solo caregivers who he says are falling through the gaps of government care.
"There's a gap is being created by government welfare policies that's impacting communities and increasing demand for services provided by community organisations.
"We can fill that gap but we need further resources to do that."
Visit careranui.org.nz or call 833 7815 for information about how to help the Ranui Baptist Community Care Foodbank.
- Western Leader
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