Food bank parcels up 47% on last year as costs and Covid bite

Nelson Community Foodbank manager Daniel Grade says Christmas will be hard for many families.

Martin De Ruyter/Stuff

Nelson Community Foodbank manager Daniel Grade says Christmas will be hard for many families.

Requests for food parcels are increasing rapidly in the run-up to Christmas as Nelson families struggle with the cost of living.

“Christmas is not going to be an easy time for many of the people using the food bank,” Nelson Community Food Bank manager Daniel Grade.

A rise in Covid-19 cases in the community meant that many were having to isolate “rely on us heavily” for food and supplies, while the recent floods had caused housing issues and homelessness was again on the rise, he said.

Grade described many people using their services as the “displaced”: with some living in motels, campsites or cars.

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The Nelson Food Bank is seeking donations of staple foods such as cereals, tinned goods, rice and crackers.

The Nelson Food Bank is seeking donations of staple foods such as cereals, tinned goods, rice and crackers.

“Many of those using the Food Bank have lost long term housing, or are struggling to find housing in the current market,” he said.

“With the cost of living increasing many people are finding managing their finances incredibly difficult and are having to turn to the food bank,” he said.

Some of these people were turning to the food bank for the first time in their lives.

Most were “very anxious” about finding housing, paying the bills, getting work, keeping their homes if they can find them. Recipients included large families, single mums and dads, elderly, young, students, war veterans, employed, unemployed, and those struggling with ACC.

In November, the service delivered 374 parcels to 1315 people.

Grade said compared to this time last year, there was a 47% increase in the number of parcels delivered and a 40% rise in the number of people receiving the parcels.

The food bank will soon be starting a donation drive via Facebook, and is asking for pantry staples, such as cereals, oats, jam, honey, peanut butter, tinned goods (beans, spaghetti, pasta sauces, fish and fruit), pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, tea bags, and instant coffee.

In the lead up to Christmas, they’re also requesting the donation of treats to put in food parcels such as chocolates and biscuits.

Grade stressed that even though many people were finding it tough at the moment, there were “many very generous people and organisations wanting to help”, and he was grateful to those who donated food and gave up their time to help.

Anyone interested in getting involved as a volunteer could seek out details about joining up on their website.

Donations can be dropped off at the food bank, located at the Habitat for Humanity complex at 166 Tahunanui Drive. There are also collection points at Nelson Countdown located at 35 St Vincent Street (opposite The Warehouse) and Nelson Fresh Choice located at 69 Collingwood Street. Donations can also be made into the food bank’s Bank Account: 03-0703-0504598-00

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