Beet­root not enough

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.’’

Photo: PETRICE TAR­RANT

Cup­boards bare: Sal­va­tion Army Min­istries co-or­di­na­tor Colin Bri­dle says the food bank is in des­per­ate need of sup­plies.

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