This month, helping a struggling family is as easy as filling a paper bag.
It's time for the Wellington City Mission's annual brown paper bag appeal, and readers in most of the Wellington region, including Wairarapa, should have found a bag in today's Dominion Post as a reminder to start adding a few extra items to their shopping trolleys.
Once full, the bags can be deposited at Z petrol stations around the region.
Now in its eighth year, the appeal is the mission's main winter food drive. Last year, more than 3000 individuals or families received a food parcel from the mission.
Wellington City Mission executive officer Michelle Branney said the appeal seemed to resonate with Wellingtonians.
"It's a great idea, and for older people they'll remember when they used to get their shopping in a brown paper bag. It's taken off, so much in fact that the Christchurch City Mission does it, too."
This year the mission was hoping to receive plenty of healthy, high-protein, non- perishable items such as tinned fish and meat. It often adds fresh fruit and vegetables to the parcels.
"People are so grateful and really impressed with the quality . . . we get really good donations, people are really thoughtful."
Breakfast cereal and food suitable for school lunches was also needed, she said. Making sure children got breakfast and lunch was a key target.
"We get referrals, though, from schools saying we came to the mission because the school social worker or someone has picked up that the kids are coming to school hungry. And there's always a reason, families working two jobs, or cleaning jobs."
Demand for the parcels had been steady and had not decreased over the past few years. "We always need food. Most of the people we give food to are families, on the whole.
"For some people, there's not enough once they've paid the rent, the power and the phone."
Clients receiving food parcels might face a range of issues including family violence, ill- health and financial problems.
"Some people just have three [parcels], one a week for three weeks, and they've got over that hump."
Food can also be taken directly to the Newtown and Johnsonville mission branches or dropped off at Kemp Home and Hospital in Titahi Bay. The collection runs till the end of this month.
- The Dominion Post