In the South
The demand for parcels from the Salvation Army community food bank is on the increase and it is not just beneficiaries that need a helping hand.
So far 250 parcels have been given out this year, compared with 206 at the same time last year.
From January to the end of September there was a 35 per cent increase in the value of food given out and a 20 per cent increase in the number of food parcels distributed, compared with the same period a year ago.
Salvation Army mission director Kaye Bell said a wider range of people were visiting the food bank, including bigger families and even families on two incomes.
She believed that was the biggest change at the food bank in the past year, as the economic climate forced more people to live day-to-day without any savings.
''If a crisis hits, they have nothing to fall back on and a crisis can be a broken washing machine, or high winter power bill.''
''We really want to give them a hand up, not an out,'' Mrs Bell said.
Along with distributing food, the bank also organises services such as budgeting advice, addiction help and life skills programmes.
''It's taking longer for people to get back on their feet,'' Mrs Bell said.
At the extreme end, some people are having to use the service for as long as six months but she has no doubt those receiving assistance are ''genuinely in need''.
Food parcels are made up to last anywhere from a few days to a full week and more seven-day long parcels were being handed out.
Luckily the people in South Otago are incredibly supportive in terms of donations and, unlike some of the other food banks in New Zealand, this one was well equipped, she said.
''The community is right in behind us, it's fantastic.''
The most useful items to donate are staples such as cereals, canned vegetables and even produce from the garden.
Food can be dropped in the bins at New World supermarket or at the Salvation Army family store on the main street and volunteers are always welcome, with 70 volunteer hours going into the food bank last month
- © Fairfax NZ News