Food bank in demand
More city people are struggling to make ends meet, and are turning up in increasing numbers at Methodist Social Services food bank.
Goodwill food bank coordinator Stacey Rohloff says the number of families needing basic food and clothing is rising, and so is poverty in Palmerston North.
‘‘We average about 26 applications for food on a daily basis. At least 18 of those are families with children. It’s ridiculous.’’
After Christmas the charity usually experienced a lull, but this year Stacey says there are more families requiring support.
‘‘There’s increasing pressure on people paying for the necessities of life – food, power, housing. It’s all expensive nowadays. ‘‘People are just struggling.’’ It is particularly hard for large families, who are finding themselves living week-to-week, and struggling to save any extra money from their benefits. She says benefits simply did not cover today’s cost of living.
‘‘It’s really people with children who are feeling the bite.’’
The latest Child Poverty Monitor report, released by Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills in December, found nearly one-third of all New Zealand children were living in poverty and more than half of those kids would never escape it.
Palmerston North Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says there needs to be more support for agencies and food banks in the city.
National list MP Jono Naylor says the Government was taking the appropriate steps to alleviate poverty, with a particular focus on child poverty in New Zealand.
Coming into effect from April 1, the Government’s Children and Hardship Act will increase work obligations for sole parents and increase benefit and student allowance rates.