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Food bank funding for Greytown

Although Greytown doesn’t have its own official food bank, figures show that the burgeoning cost of living has led to an increasing number of residents relying on food support.

The Greytown Community Board was told last week by volunteer May Croft, as part of a bid for funding support, that about a quarter of the parcels that Martinborough food bank distributes go to Greytown families.

“Food banks today are not like the old idea about food banks and the kind of picture you have of somebody who might need food,” Croft said.

“Most who come to us work, but it’s hard to get permanent work … these are the kind of people that are coming to the food bank.”

Last year, it cost about $80,000 to run the food bank and – taking into account the increased need for support – it is likely to increase to $100,000 this year.

Croft said there are 16 registered families based in Greytown receiving food parcels and that Martinborough’s food bank volunteers have noticed a growth in donations from Greytown.

“What is great to know is that there are people in the community who put aside money for the food bank,” Croft said.

“It’s quite moving.”

Although the Greytown community has begun contributing to the food bank, Croft asked the board for a contribution of just over $5000 to go towards costs between March and June, when Greytown demand began to ramp up.

Community Board chair Louise Brown said she was surprised to hear Croft say there were 16 registered Greytown families, as only the previous week she had been told there were 14, “which means there are two more groups who have signed up in just a week”.

Although the amount requested was over the usual limit of $1000, Brown said she believed that, given the circumstances, the whole amount should be awarded.

She asked the room if there was an opposing view and was instead met with a chorus of agreement.

Councillor Aaron Woodcock said that during a recent visit to the food bank he was “quite stunned” at the number of boxes stacked on the shelves and the number of people involved.

“Personally, I think this is exactly what our funding should be going towards,” he said.

A unanimous vote in favour of the food bank receiving $5000 sealed the deal.

Local food banks are due to hear later this month if they are on the list to receive part of the latest instalment of government food bank funding intended to ease the transition out of the pandemic and recent cyclones.

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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