SHARE
Support . . . Presbyterian Support South Canterbury Family Works manager Liz Nolan (right) says demand is still high in winter for the organisation's food bank, which is supported by volunteers such as Peter (left) and Carol Dixon and by businesses like Couplands, which donated the bread. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Demand for food parcels this winter remain steady, South Canterbury social agencies say.

While none of Timaru’s three main foodbanks has reported a hike in the number of people seeking help, numbers are not dropping either, Salvation Army Timaru corps officer Emma Howan said.

Mrs Howan reminded residents that while people often immediately thought “canned food” when the word “foodbank” was mentioned, there was often a larger variety of items needed.

These included feminine hygiene products – which Timaru residents had been really generous about donating – as well as washing powder, toothbrushes and toilet paper, she said.

However, easily warmed-up food, like tinned soup, was always a good idea for donating canned items during winter, Mrs Howan said.

“We’re here to help and that’s what we do.”

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury Family Works manager Liz Nolan said the organisation was giving away between 50-60 food parcels a month at present.

However, this could range between a full parcel for a family that would last 3-4 days, to giving supplementary items like bread and other basics to an individual.

She said winter bills, and other unexpected costs, always made this time of year difficult for residents, even with the “reasonably mild” weather so far.

The foodbank always welcomed donations, including cleaning products, canned items and even meat donations, as it had freezer space.

She was also looking forward to the launch of City Harvest Food Rescue, a non-profit organisation which collects quality surplus food for those in need, as this was expected to benefit foodbanks around the region.

St Vincent de Paul welfare officer Mary Brown said demand for its foodbank services had been “quite steady”.

She said “quite a lot” of people had needed help with firewood, while others sought food parcels.

Mrs Brown said the organisation’s clients were families and individuals, and while it was “sad” hear about people’s circumstances, it was why St Vincent’s did the work it did.

“We’re here to help and that’s what we do.”

The organisation had also started a fortnightly soup service at its Stafford St premises, providing a cup of soup from 10am to noon on every second Friday for those who needed it, she said.