Monday, 23 April 2012

Our Cupboards Are Bare

The Downtown Community Ministry (DCM) foodbank is almost empty. We’ve seen a 44% increase in the number of food parcels given out in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same quarter in 2010.

“The situation is dire, we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of people we’re supporting even though our foodbank is only open two afternoons a week”, says Stephanie McIntye, director of DCM.

In Jan – March 2010, DCM provided 627 food parcels to 241 people, with 66 people using the foodbank for the first time. For the same period this year, we’ve given out 903 parcels to 289 people, with a startling 90 new clients.

The majority of these people are on a Sickness, Invalid’s or Unemployment Benefit, though the number of people not receiving any income at all has increased from one person, to nine people. This is hardly suprising given the increase in the costs of living, and the increase in the unemployment rate in New Zealand.

“It is deeply disappointing to see so many people in such great need. Not since the 90s have we seen this level of reliance on our foodbank. Because we’re seeing more people, our food supplies are running low. We don’t want to get in a situation where we are having to turn people away,” says Stephanie.

In our foodbank, there are only 2 cans of tuna left, 3 cans of beetroot, 1 can of corn, a few spreads and boxes of Weetbix, and some baked beans and canned tomato. There’s no tinned fruit, meat or other fish. There’s no soup, packet meals, tea and coffee or even toilet paper.

DCM needs your help to restock our shelves. If you have items to donate, please contact us on 04 384 7699.