The annual Food Drive to fill the larders of the Lower Hutt Foodbank is happening this Sunday.
Hutt News, with the help of our delivery company PMP Distribution, has inserted inside today's edition a bag where you can put donations of tins, packets, fresh vegetables, kitchen and bathroom consumables and so on.
Leave them out by your front gate or letterbox by noon on Sunday, and Rotary and Lions volunteers will pick them up during the afternoon.
Wainuiomata has its own food bank and is not involved in the Hutt News collection this year.
Food bank co-ordinator Bev Foster says the Food Drive is their main chance during the year to restock so they can continue supplying emergency food parcels to local families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.
When we called on the food bank last Tuesday, supplies were not as low as we've seen them in the past.
But it turned out cartons of supplies from several of the churches which help out the food bank year-round had recently arrived.
"It comes in but it goes out fast," says Carol Pringle, one of more than 30 volunteers who work on roster helping out.
"I think we've all been here when there's been hardly enough to fill a parcel."
She claps a hand on the shoulder of Mary Williams: "She's the one who got me into this, you know."
Mrs Williams says she started as a food bank volunteer way back in the years Deacon Chris Wood was running it at the Laings Rd Methodist Church, before it was demolished in 2002.
It is satisfying work, Mrs Williams says
There are a few who try to buck the system by doing the rounds of help agencies but they're a small minority.
"We get people who really are stuck - they truly need help."
Mrs Foster says emergency parcel numbers are consistently above 300 a month - 395 in March, 376 in May, 322 in June.
"Bear in mind that's not the number of people helped, that's the number of parcels," she says. "We've had someone in this morning with five adults in the house. So it mounts up."
There is better co-ordination now between help agencies to stop rip-offs, she says. Someone from St Vincent de Paul comes in each morning with vegetables and Mrs Foster is also working more closely with the Salvation Army.
"But we wouldn't survive without the people of the Hutt's generosity,' she says.'
FOOD DRIVE FACTS
- If you don't get a Food Drive bag delivered, just put out your donation by your letterbox on Sunday in any bag.
- Food Drive bags can't be inserted for those Eastbourne homes which receive their Hutt News wrapped. Lions Club members will this week be delivering Food Drive bags into the letterboxes of these addresses.
- Wainuiomata is not involved in this year's Food Drive but Stokes Valley is.
- Lions and Rotary volunteers are again giving their time to pick up donations. There are a lot of streets to cover. If for any reason your bag is not picked up, you can bring it down to the Lower Hutt Horiticultural Hall on Sunday afternoon, or to the Hutt News office at 22 Raroa Rd during business hours.
- Hutt News