A Central Auckland foodbank run by Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN) has been so overwhelmed by demand that its shelves are almost bare and its freezers are almost empty.
With the current lockdown preventing public food donations, the organisation is calling for financial donations to allow it to order food from supermarkets to give to those in need.
PSN Community Relationship Manager Anne Overton say demand is up by about a third compared to the first lockdown last year.
“Many families were caught short by the sudden move into lockdown and had no time to prepare.
“Many parents who have low-paying contract jobs, such as cleaners, are unable to work. When you live week-to-week it creates financial pressures that for some families are just too much,” says Overton.
The PSN Foodbank, located in Grafton, typically works on a referral model. Individuals and families are referred to the foodbank by PSN staff, social workers in schools, district health boards and other support agencies. The Foodbank also serves people who walk in from the street looking for help.
With lockdown preventing the movement of people, Overton says the traditional community food drive – where people drop off food to the Foodbank – is no longer applicable.
“Instead of public donations of food, we’re asking for financial donations. We have a good relationship with a local supermarket where we can buy large quantities of food and have it delivered to the Foodbank.
“The more financial donations we receive, the more food we can buy and the more families we can help during these tough times.”
Overton says food purchased from supermarkets is supplemented by fresh produce donations from KiwiHarvest and potato and onion supplier Wilcox.
“We’re always open to bulk donations from food manufacturers and meat suppliers, particularly fresh meat. Our chillers and freezers are almost empty.”
During lockdown, food parcels are delivered by volunteers following strict Covid-19 safety protocols.
Overton says a large part of the demand is driven by schools that know which families in their catchment areas are in need.
“Many schools are being proactive in supporting families of children – we recently provided 18 food parcels to one Auckland school alone.
“The problem we have is there just isn’t enough food to go around. A local community radio station was advertising our Foodbank to its listeners, but we had to ask them to stop as we simply don’t have food available.”
How to support
Financial donations to the PSN Foodbank can be made online here.
Company or food manufacturer donations:
Contact PSN Community Relationship Manager Anne Overton on 027 520 8653, firstname.lastname@example.org