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Featherston seeks funding to secure continuity

Featherston Foodbank is launching two new initiatives leading up to Christmas to boost donations and ensure it is “sustainable within the community” as the need for the service continues to grow.

The first is a drive to raise $1000 a month “in sponsorships on a continuing basis”, Featherston Foodbank’s manager Elaine Corlett said.

Regular donations would give the service much-needed continuity and help the foodbank continue without relying on big grants and funding, Corlett explained.

“We’ve done really well up till now, really well, and we do have a very generous community”, she said, “but need has doubled, and our income hasn’t.”

When Corlett first joined Featherston Foodbank as a volunteer about three years ago, “if we had eight or nine households, that was a busy day. Now we see 16 households in a day. We are regularly seeing between 30 and 40 people a week.”

Corlett has seen an increase in younger families and pensioners accessing the service and considers the lack of discretionary income as contributing to the current levels of food need.

“It’s that extra cost. When families and pensioners get that extra cost, they find they can’t cover it. It just has to be that the car breaks down.”

The cost of Christmas is another financial pressure looming for people, Corlett said.

“People are trying to make a good life for their kids, but they don’t have the discretionary income to buy those extras.”

A Givealittlepage for one-off and regular donations has been set up to support the initiative, and postcards printed with the organisation’s bank details to encourage people to set up automatic payments.

The money donated “will go directly to buying food”, Corlett said, “it won’t go to anything else – no operational costs, nothing like that – it is purely and simply for buying food for the local community.”

Corlett thinks the monthly goal is achievable.

“A hundred families giving $10 a month, that’s our $1000. Or 200 families giving $5. All those little bits count.”

Featherston Foodbank’s second initiative is ideal for “those last-minute people who don’t know what to buy a person [for Christmas]. We are saying, ‘Would you like to donate a meal for a family?’.”

Donations of any value can be made, and the value of the donation is recorded in a Christmas card.

“$10 can buy a box of Weetbix and two litres of milk or a dozen eggs and a loaf of bread for breakfast”, Corlett said. “$15 can gift a tray of chicken drumsticks and veggies.”

Corlett and foodbank volunteers will be outside SuperValue supermarket in Featherston on December 10, 16, and 17, to promote the Givealittle page and ‘donate a meal’ fundraisers.

For more information about making a donation, visit www.givealittle.co.nz/org/featherstons-own-community-trust

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