Beetroot not enough
Empty shelves at the Salvation Army Foodbank means empty stomachs for the district’s struggling adults and children.
A few sachets of coffee and a couple of cans of beetroot are all that is left and co-ordinator Colin Bridle said they are in desperate need of supplies.
In the last financial year the centre assisted 608 families or individuals, providing 874 food parcels.
Those numbers have plateaued but are still high considering the district’s decreasing population.
Bridle said the problem is not that donations have dropped off, it is that the need in the community is rising.
‘‘I don’t think it’s that people aren’t donating, I think it’s the pace that things are happening.
‘‘We’ve got a really caring community it’s just a case of keeping up with the need.’’
Clients are facing more complex problems, he said, meaning they require help for longer.
‘‘We’ve got a lot of people who move in from out of town . . where the rents are dearer . . . they come to Tokoroa for cheaper rents and they don’t make the connection their benefits might drop . . . they’re just not well prepared when they arrive.’’
The foodbank, which has been operating since 1974, is getting harder to fill every year.
‘‘We find that yes, we have run out of food again because we have just gone through the part of the year when poeple have had winter, high power bills and people are struggling, it’s not easy out there.’’
As a result those families turn to places such as the Salvation Army, he said.
‘‘Food is a very practical and real part of that.’’
Flour, rice, tinned foods and other non-perishable basics are items that go a long way in a food bank, he said.
Outsiders can’t afford to not help because of decisions made by adults, he said, because there are still children involved.
‘‘About 25-30 per cent of our young people and families are in that poverty trap.’’
This community has a habit of stepping up to the play though.
‘‘We’re really blessed through the fact that this is a caring community. Today what I’m doing is letting them know what the need is. I’m saying can you help us help those less fortunate than yourselves.’’
Cupboards bare: Salvation Army Ministries co-ordinator Colin Bridle says the food bank is in desperate need of supplies.