Covid-19: Government funding for extra 60,000 food parcels

Food support services have been given a $7m boost from central Government to help fund an additional 60,000 food parcels at alert level 4. Pictured here is Sharon Wills of the New Plymouth Food Bank putting together food parcels on Wednesday.
SIMON O'CONNOR/Stuff
Food support services have been given a $7m boost from central Government to help fund an additional 60,000 food parcels at alert level 4. Pictured here is Sharon Wills of the New Plymouth Food Bank putting together food parcels on Wednesday.

Food banks and support services have received a $7m boost from Government to go towards providing food parcels at alert level 4.

Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced the funding increase on Saturday, which will help with the distribution of an additional 60,000 food parcels and 10,000 wellbeing packs.

The funding will go to food security networks, through providers such as those that have the Community Connection Service, operating at alert level 4.

Sepuloni said the funding was aimed at meeting the increase in demand from providers and organisations across the country, who were “working tirelessly to support our people, whānau and communities most impacted by the current outbreak”.

READ MORE:
* Covid-19: Demand for food parcels soars in Hamilton as Delta restrictions bite
* Covid-19: Children 'to miss out' as lockdown cuts off food-in-schools programmes
* 'Down to my last $9': Jobless migrants struggle as support drops

“Government is being responsive and continuously looking at how to support need as it arises, so that for example people can continue to access food and other essential items like necessities for babies, sanitary products, and masks.

Minister of Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni made the announcement on Saturday.
Samuel Rillstone/RNZ
Minister of Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni made the announcement on Saturday.

“As always, I’m keeping a watchful eye to make sure there’s enough funding for existing food providers, and the Ministry for Social Development will continue to keep in close touch with them to ensure they’re supported to meet demand through any alert level changes.”

Sepuloni said the Delta variant had brought new challenges, particularly with the large number of people who had become close contacts and needed to self-isolate.

She said it was important to minimise movement to prevent the virus spreading, meaning communities that would normally pull together and support each other were less able to do so.

CHRIS SKELTON
Hundreds turned out for the City Mission Christmas lunch in Christchurch in 2020. The current Covid-19 lockdown has seen a spike in the number of people turning to the organisation for help.

“I want to remind whānau in need to keep using the wide range of support available through MSD. We’ve allocated extra money to existing services so people have timely access to immediate and longer-term support packages, in addition to a $2.8 million top up last week.

“Aotearoa has felt the effects of alert level 4 before, and I know that given we have been here before, we can get through it again.”

  • You can test your eligibility for assistance from MSD here, or call 0800 559 009 to talk to someone about your situation.
  • Find a list of New Zealand food banks and other food help services here
  • If you have an urgent need or can’t access other support, contact your local Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) Group here.
  • A pamphlet outlining all of these options and more is available here.