Share cheer with needy
TOUGH times mean even more families will be struggling to put food on the table this Christmas.
So the Central Leader is getting behind Auckland’s Poverty Action Coalition to help support families through the festive season.
The Onehunga-based foodbank says demand is already up by a third on the same time last year.
Coordinator Bill Anderson expects to give out close to 200 parcels in December, including basic food items as well as treats and toys for children.
He says the gifts are always gratefully received by families struggling to make ends meet.
“They are always overwhelmed,” he says.
“Sometimes when it gets close to Christmas you have to become quite inventive to put extras in the parcels to encourage that Christmas feeling. It’s quite difficult.”
The foodbank was formed in the 1980s in response to the poverty caused by benefit cuts.
“We were hearing about people going hungry, and on the other hand we were hearing about factories dumping food,” Mr Anderson says.
It first operated from a building in Grey St, Onehunga, but for the past eight or nine years food has been stored in Mr Anderson’s small one-bedroom flat.
Storage space is urgently needed to help the group meet demand for services, but the charity can’t afford to pay commercial rents.
“We’re not in the business of making profits, so how can we pay the rent?” Mr Anderson asks.
Volunteer Pam Moresby first heard about the foodbank when going through tough times in the early1990s.
“There are a lot of people in genuine need. I was one of them, and they helped me,” she says. “You’ve got to look at people fairly and not make harsh judgements.”
Ms Moresby says they try to include something special for children and parents at this time of year.
“It’s really important for kids to know someone out there thinks of them, that’s the spirit of Christmas,” she says.
“But the mother or whoever’s looking after them often gets forgotten.”
Donations of petfood are also needed so every member of the family is looked after.
The foodbank gives only three parcels a year to each family, and donations are shared with the Salvation Army and Auckland City Mission so each service has a variety of food available.
Donations of non-perishable food and unwrapped new toys can be placed under the tree at the Central Leader reception, Unit 1-3, 72 Dominion Rd, Eden Terrace, until Wednesday, December 17.
To have donations collected, or to offer storage space, phone 623-9696.
Overflowing: Bill Anderson with donations of bread ready to be distributed. The Poverty Action Coalition foodbank urgently needs storage for food donations.