Manawatu food banks and charities help with growing Christmas demand

Manawatu charities and goodwill stores are feeling the pressure as the demand for goods increases this Christmas.

Author : GEORGIA FORRESTER

 The demand for food and goodwill items in the lead up to Christmas is growing in Manawatu.

The demand for food and goodwill items in the lead up to Christmas is growing in Manawatu.

Methodist Social Services have had an 8 to 10 per cent increase in people using their food bank in the past financial year, while Just Zilch had about 50 more people through the free food store each day than at the start of the year.

Goodwill manager Lyal Brenton said the number of parcels the charity was giving out had also increased by about 8 per cent.
The demand for food and goodwill items in the lead up to Christmas is growing in Manawatu.

In the 2015-16 year period there were 1323 parcels made up for about about 3600 people, he said.

Each parcel contained a week's worth of food for someone.

Brenton said many people found it tough to deal with the extra costs associated with the holiday season.

But donations from community membersand the recent food drive had stocked up their supplies, he said.

Just Zilch founder Rebecca Culver said the average number of people needing food from the charity each day had significantly increased.

There was now an average of 200 people a day needing basic food supplies, opposed to the 150 per day at the start of the year.
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"It's busy times for sure."

She said supermarkets and people had this year donated extra food to help those families less fortunate.

"We've had a few businesses do a reverse advent calender - where they give something, instead of taking something.

"It's a really good idea of giving back."

Feilding based Salvation Army volunteer Sue Kitney said they have had three times as many people requesting food items recently.

"I think it's just because it's Christmas time - people are trying to get Christmas presents and food. It's that time of year where there are extra expenses."

Salvation Army captain Stu Lee said people were continuing to drop off donations, and even a kindergarten had embraced the festive spirit by gifting presents for other children and families.

"The community support is there," he said.

Carla Timms, the manager at the Salvation Army store in Feilding, said people had been coming in for help with Christmas presents, as well as the usual items needed for this time of year, including summer clothes.

The store had made up gift boxes of new plates and clothes, which has been donated. Timms said the gift boxes were a way to help families sort presents for Christmas.

Source : Stuff

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