The Ōtaki foodbank ended the year being able to help most people who needed it, but it still faces some challenges in 2020.
Manager Lucy Tahere says that while stocks of food and other essential items are at good levels, the need continues to increase.
“There’s still a lot of poverty in Ōtaki that most people don’t know about,” Lucy says. “And it’s not just young families who are not earning an income.
“We’re also helping the elderly – some of them are on their own and desperate for assistance – and people who are earning only a minimum wage. They’re all trying to make the best of difficult circumstances.”
Foodbank figures from the period October 25 to December 17 show assistance was provided to 36 Winz recipients (five top-ups), 26 non-beneficiaries or on minimum wage (two top-ups), six for senior citizens and two had budget mentoring.
People were helped to pay for rent, water rates, property rates, overdue power bills, disconnection, loans, and vehicle warrants of fitness and registration.
The foodbank has noticed many new arrivals in Ōtaki, some of whom are in genuine need. Lucy notes, however, that some are expecting food parcels automatically.
“We’ve seen more people moving into Ōtaki, and unfortunately some are expecting food parcels without any accountability. We are here to help people, but we have to be sure there is a genuine need.”
Heading into 2020, the foodbank is well stocked thanks in large part to the generosity of Ōtaki individuals, businesses and organisations.
In her report of December 18, Lucy singled out the Lions Club for its annual food appeal in November, and Waitohu and Te Horo schools for their fundraising events.
She says the foodbank has had cash and food donations throughout the year, and more recently Christmas presents donated for local children and senior citizens.
“To all our local and wider community organisations, as well as individual and local businesses – there are just too many to name individually – thank you so much.”
If you can help with a donation of food, cash or other items, please contact Lucy on 364-0051 or drop in to the foodbank at 43 Main St Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday 9.30am-noon.