Karen Chalmers and Yvonne O’Dowd fill food parcels in Carterton. PHOTO/ARTHUR HAWKES

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

Carterton Foodbank was closed when the country went into lockdown.

The team were restructuring to serve their community in the safest possible manner.

“As most of our amazing volunteers are over 70, we needed to keep them safe, as well as our recipients,” co-ordinator Karen Chalmers said.

“We couldn’t be aware of who may or may not have had the virus.”

Now open again, the foodbank is servicing the community at a time when foodbanks across the country are experiencing a marked rise in usage due to unemployment and Alert Level Four restrictions.

“We’re in contact with Masterton Foodbank, and it is displaying that trend,” chairwoman Yvonne O’Dowd said.

“We’re expecting ours to do the same.”

The team would also like to emphasise that the service is not just for families; elderly and disabled people who are unable to get out are also welcome to call.

O’Dowd said that, sadly, some elderly people were reluctant to use the service.

“We’ve been trying to get older people in – but they have a pride, they get very embarrassed.

“We’re here to provide for all in our district.

“We are committed to that, and it would be very upsetting if we got to hear that there was someone sitting at home that desperately needed food that hadn’t touched base with us. We don’t have a problem sharing what we’ve got.”

Food stocks are okay at the moment, but they expect a heavier demand once word gets out that they’re back up and running.

“We’ve been very lucky with the generosity of the district,” O’Dowd added.

Chalmers wanted to make clear the importance of speaking clearly and slowly when leaving a message with the team; giving a name, address, phone number, and the number of adults and ages of the children in the household.

The team would like to thank Carterton New World, which is providing them with products, and members of the public who are supporting the foodbank during this difficult time.

Those in need of the service can call 06 379 4092 before 10am, Monday to Friday, and the parcel will be delivered to your address by the Salvation Army.

Donation points are in supermarkets.