Food banks braced for big rush

21:16, Dec 17 2012
Food bank
Spreading the cheer: Countdown Waikato area manager Karl Wareham, back left, and Hamilton store manager Gary Whiteham, centre, hand over goods to Salvation Army officers Roger Stack, front, and Lindsay Chisholm, back.

Food banks in the region are gearing up for a massive Christmas rush, with most saying this year has been the toughest the region has seen in years.

About 960 of the 60,000 food parcels delivered nationally by the Salvation Army each year go to needy Waikato residents

Territorial Community Ministries Secretary for The Salvation Army Major Pam Waugh said there was an ever-growing need for food parcels, and urged people to dig deep to help those less fortunate.

"Some families have a constant struggle to meet basic needs such as food, clothing and housing, and with increasing financial hardship affecting a wider cross-section of the population, the need for The Salvation Army's services this Christmas will be greater than ever before."

Salvation Army Major Lindsay Chisholm said the Hamilton branch was expecting to distribute food hampers to 110 families this Christmas

Sharyn Goodin, who runs the Morrinsville Foodbank, said the rush had started last month, an earlier start than most years.

In Tokoroa, food bank volunteer Ruth Ramea said the redundancy announcement from the Carter Holt Harvey plywood plant would further contribute to a "really, really bad" year.

But things in Otorohanga were much the same as in previous years, other than a rise in single adults needing food parcels, food bank co-ordinator Aileen Berriga said.

She said Otorohanga was lucky to have some generous donators, while Mrs Ramea said the Tokoroa community "band together to help each other".