Foodbanks report growing demand

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Helping hands . . . St Vincent de Paul welfare officer Mary Brown (right), with shop staff (from left) Jean Woodhall and Betty Beeby says the foodbank has been busy this year. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

Timaru’s foodbanks are reporting increased need in the lead up to Christmas.
Salvation Army Timaru officer Jacob Howan said the need for the organisation’s services had also increased in the last year, with heating bills from the cold winter and the cost of Christmas impacting on clients.
He said “anyone and everyone” could find themselves in a difficult financial position at any time. The organisation supported clients from a variety of backgrounds.
“That kind of hardship doesn’t discriminate.”
He thanked residents for recent donations of toys and other Christmas gifts that were being distributed to South Canterbury families.
The generosity of South Canterbury residents was always great, he said.
“It just continues to blow us away.”
St Vincent de Paul welfare officer Mary Brown said the organisation’s foodbank was also “very busy”.
“I think it’s increased,” she said of demand.
“You can’t let children go hungry.”
The cold winter had been hard on many families, and the organisation had given away plenty of clothing during the year.
Mrs Brown said many people did not realise how close they could be to ending up in poverty, with just one job loss or unexpected bill costing them money that would otherwise have gone on food for a week or longer.
The organisation had supported 165 clients from July to December.
“I think we will always have poverty.”
St Vincent’s staff had been gathering together Christmas parcels, which included puzzles and books for children, along with food staples and toiletries, and some Christmas goodies such as biscuits.
She thanked residents who had supported the recent Toot for Tucker can drive, and Timaru Lions members who had donated several Christmas cakes to give to clients.
Presbyterian Support South Canterbury Family Works manager Liz Nolan said the organisation had also seen a steep increase in food parcels given out this year.