A brighter Christmas for families
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamilton Combined Christian Food Bank relief manager Deanna Bosenius, volunteer Jack Humphry and manager Louisa Humphry.