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Foodbank frenzy amid covid-19

Lyn Tankersley and Hayden McGrail at Masterton Foodbank. PHOTO/FILE

Lisa Urbani

While some have had the luxury of watching Netflix and taking a sabbatical during the covid-19 lockdown, Masterton’s Foodbank co-ordinator, Lyn Tankersley, and her small team of volunteers – including Lyn’s partner Hayden McGrail – have been working flat out to keep up with the demand for food parcels.

In all her 25 years of working at the Foodbank, Lyn has never experienced having to put together a record number of 90 food parcels on one day, as she did one Friday during lockdown.

Normally averaging about 30 food parcels, each of the 90 boxes had supplies for at least 10 people, so they were actually feeding up to 1000 people, a huge number by their normal standards.

Forming a conveyor system of boxes and goods to pack was the only way to keep up with the constant demand for packages.

A television crew from TV1’s Seven Sharp programme got wind of the situation and arrived to interview Lyn, who handled it with her usual calm and articulate approach, letting the country know just what kind-hearted people we have here in Wairarapa.

She was overwhelmed by the response she received as a result, from all parts of the country, including Auckland.

“An eight-year-old boy offered to send food and a grandmother arranged for family in Carterton to send us money, while another local woman arrived with $800 worth of groceries,” she said.

She and her small group of volunteers were feeling “pretty exhausted,” but she expected that numbers would rise again as the economic hardship of the covid-19 situation continued to have an effect.

Lyn wanted to express her huge gratitude to all the supermarkets, their workers, the delivery truck drivers, and businesses like Breadcraft and Henergy cage-free eggs, saying that “they had been incredible”.

Her biggest thank you was, however, reserved for her loyal team of volunteers who worked so hard to help their fellow citizens in need, and for the agencies and police who were also involved in delivering the parcels.

As for the public, she said, “if everyone could just put one item of food in the bins at the supermarkets each time they shopped, then the Foodbank would be able to provide comfortably for everyone”.


  1. Hi I’m need off help iv been asking around for the last month for a food parcel delivery I have for kids and I don’t have a car to get around to do anything when I do my shopping I have to do it at the local dart and it’s not cheep and the food don’t last Al week but every time I get a call thae tell me tht iim to late or thae will give me a contact number to ring same one Al’s but please get bk to me thanks

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