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Food bank’s funding falls as need soars

Masterton Foodbank is “desperately” seeking sponsorship after losing more than half its funding while meeting a 68 per cent increase in demand for food.

Jenna Matchett, who has managed Masterton Foodbank for nearly five years, said the charitable organisation is “really feeling the pinch”.

“We have probably got enough money – if the economic climate doesn’t change – for somewhere around nine months, which isn’t great,” she told the Times-Age.

“We used to have a two-year plan, and that’s a significant concern for the community.

“Like everyone else, our power bills have gone up a huge amount, and there’s also ACC levies, insurance, operational expenses, and the continual rise in food prices.”

World Vision reported in February that the price of common food items in New Zealand had increased by more than 50 per cent over the past year.

In April 2023, Masterton Foodbank distributed 334 parcels that provided 8022 meals for 1337 people – or 4.4 percent of Masterton district’s population.

This year in April, the food bank distributed 562 parcels that provided 11,100 meals for 1850 people – an estimated 6.4 percent of the population.

The dramatic increase in demand – in conjunction with increased costs – makes it challenging to keep operations, due to a fall in funding.

“The food bank has had a 55 per cent decrease in funding for the financial year,” Matchett said.

As a result, Masterton Foodbank has launched a sponsorship campaign to encourage local businesses and individuals to consider making regular monthly donations of “whatever they can afford”.

“Sponsors will receive recognition on our sponsorship board, which will be public-facing and published in the paper,” Matchett said.

“Should you wish to have this option, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, that too can be arranged.”

The food bank will also hold several fundraising events, while “receiving food donations is always a welcome contribution, and we can never have too much”.

Matchett said that funding has become increasingly difficult because “all organisations are looking for money because major funders have pulled out”.

Post-covid relief from the Ministry of Social Development has also stopped, which has left a major hole in funding streams.

“We do get a decent chunk through private funding from individual investors like family and people,” Matchett said.

“Most of them stay anonymous, and then we get some funding, greatly supported by Masterton Trust Land Trust, Community Organisation Grants Scheme [COGS], and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission occasionally.

“There have been some discrepancies in council funding that we used to be able to rely on and now no longer can,” Matchett said, noting Masterton District Council’s funding has been reduced in the Long-Term Plan from a three-year period to an annual application.

“That’s taken away a lot of the security that organisations used to have.”

To donate money, food, or time email [email protected] or call 06 370 8034.

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