A brighter Christ­mas for fam­i­lies

Hamilton Metro News - - News - Ge­off Lewis

Hamil­ton Com­bined Chris­tian Food Bank, with the help of the com­mu­nity, aims to make Christ­mas a lit­tle brighter for Hamil­ton peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing hard­ship, says Methodist City Ac­tion co­or­di­na­tor Wendy Nick­alls.

The need for food help for fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als con­tin­ues to grow, pro­pelled to a large ex­tent by the short­age of af­ford­able hous­ing.

Fig­ures pro­vided by the Food Bank show an in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple fed of about 15 per cent over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 years from 9185 to 10,981.

“In the past few months the ma­jor­ity of fam­i­lies com­ing in for food have been stay­ing in mo­tels, of­ten women with chil­dren and the kids aren't in school be­cause of con­stant shifts,” said Nick­alls

“Ev­ery year we need food to help fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als, not only at Christ­mas but also af­ter Christ­mas. There is a lot of pres­sure on fam­i­lies to pro­vide for chil­dren and vis­it­ing friends which of­ten leaves them short in the new year.

“What we are get­ting in do­na­tions is not cov­er­ing the de­mand. We still have to buy in a lot of food in es­pe­cially fresh food, per­ish­ables like veg­eta­bles and meat.

“Any do­na­tions of food in­clud­ing canned food, dried foods in­clud­ing noo­dles and rice, milk pow­der, ce­re­als, tea cof­fee, drink sa­chets, soap pow­der and toi­let paper, and any other non­per­ish­ables are much ap­pre­ci­ated.”

The Hamil­ton Com­bined Chris­tian Food Bank pro­vides about 75 per cent of the emer­gency food-par­cel sup­port in Hamil­ton, with the Sal­va­tion Army's food bank mostly re­spon­si­ble for the re­main­der.

Food Bank man­ager Louisa Humphry said HCCFB dis­trib­uted 321 food parcels in De­cem­ber last year to a to­tal of 1100 adults and chil­dren.

“There is a trend for peo­ple to be housed in emer­gency sit­u­a­tions which leads to a lot of peo­ple in one house.

“There are peo­ple liv­ing in cars while wait­ing to find a house. We work with bud­geters and agen­cies but the first pri­or­ity is to make sure peo­ple are fed.”

Humphry said the food bank had great sup­port from a ded­i­cated group of donors, char­i­ties and sup­pli­ers but many of them were feel­ing the strain.

“We have a huge team but our sup­pli­ers need to cover their costs.”

The HCCFB is sup­ported by Trust Waikato, D.V.Bryant, Wel En­ergy Trust, Catholic Care Foun­da­tion, Tidd Foun­da­tion, HCC, Cogs (De­part­ment of In­ter­nal Affairs), PAC (Methodists), J.R.McKen­zie Trust, WDFF Karamu, Ware­house Group shop­ping bag ap­peal, Kaivol­un­tion, and Mill St St Pak ‘n Save.

The HCCFB has also joined EasyGiv­ing, a New Zealand do­na­tions app which can be found through www.easygiv­ing.nz

Any­one in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing do­na­tions in money or food to the 2016 Christ­mas Food­bank Ap­peal, should do so to Methodist City Ac­tion, 62 Lon­don St or con­tact Wendy on 07 839 3917 or wendy@hmss.org.nz

Hamil­ton Com­bined Chris­tian Food Bank re­lief man­ager Deanna Bose­nius, vol­un­teer Jack Humphry and man­ager Louisa Humphry.

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