Food banks flooded with requests

MICHELE ONG
Last updated 05:00 24/12/2013

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Taranaki's food banks are experiencing a surge in demand for parcels as families struggle to put food on the table over the holiday season.

While shops were inundated with last-minute shoppers, food banks around the region have been flooded with requests for food packages.

New Plymouth Salvation Army community ministries manager Fiona Stuart said they gave out 40 food parcels in December last year but figures were around the 65 mark for December this year, with demand coming from both beneficiaries and working families.

Kept just as busy was Hawera Foodbank chairwoman Hazel Robinson who delivered a total of 60 parcels yesterday.

"Our cupboards had a big demand," she said.

Mrs Robinson said the general feedback she received from recipients was that the economy was still less than rosy.

"A lot of them say it's still hard out there and some say they have only $20 left to buy food," she said.

"Some had been made redundant and it is especially hard when you have a mortgage and little kids."

Inglewood Community Foodbank gave out 30 packages compared to the 25 handed out last year.

Chairman Amos Muzondiwa said there was a "massive drop" in the middle of the year but numbers picked up again towards the Christmas period.

At the New Plymouth Community Food Bank, manager Mike Merrick spent 30 minutes putting together a parcel for a family of 12.

Apart from that, Mr Merrick said yesterday was relatively quiet, with five clients through the door compared to the 20 people he saw on Friday.

Mr Merrick said he was surprised with the small numbers but believed the drop in figures were due to the "big day" they had on Friday.

"Today, it's all about people dropping stuff off, which is nice," Mr Merrick said.

The bank also did a food drop to several homes in need of a good Christmas cheer.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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