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Foodbank need still high

Lyn Tankersley of Masterton Foodbank receives a table full of supplies from Bill Johnson, manager of the Masterton Club. PHOTO/GERALD FORD.

By Gerald Ford

Demand for the services of Masterton Foodbank was at a record high in April for the second month in a row, spokeswoman Lyn Tankersley said on Monday.

“There is genuine need out there in the community, there’s no doubt about that. People are hurting.

It’s not just people who are without jobs, it’s people with jobs – especially those renting.

“They’ll be going along sweetly and then the car breaks down, and they need the car for work, so for a couple of weeks they just can’t afford food and they get food parcels, just to feed their family.

“We had our busiest month every in March and that’s what the Times-Age story was about, but we were equally busy in April. We’re doing 24 food parcels a day, and that’s huge.”

Ms Tankersley said three quarters or 75 percent of all food parcels are referred by social agencies.

“That’s churches, the DHB, alcohol and drug people, all the budgeting people, Winz,” Ms Tankersley said.

“Sure, we’ve probably got a few people abusing the system but it’s very small.

“We have a database, and people all have to show ID with their address.

“People find it hard to ask for food parcels, especially women. They’re often in tears.”

Ms Tankersley said rental costs are “definitely” a factor in the increasing need.

“We have a young mother whose rent’s gone up $150 a week, she just struggles. She said income hasn’t gone up $150 a week.”

“Power has increased, and food is increasing for the first time in years.”

The types of food that are increasing in price, are particularly “fruit and veges, the healthy stuff”

“All the nasty sugary stuff is still on special, isn’t it?”



The Masterton Foodbank had two donations last week from separate groups of people who had read of their plight in a story in the Wairarapa Times-Age.

Midweek spoke to Lyn Tankersley (see page 1) following contact from the groups.

The Masterton Club donated the proceeds of a meat raffle to the foodbank.

Manager Bill Johnson said the club is now holding the raffle monthly and donating the proceeds to a Wairarapa charity.

The winner of the raffle also donated his prize to the foodbank and enhanced the donation.

“We decided rather than ask donate the money we would ask them what they needed,” Mr Johnson said.

“They said noodles, pasta, jam, and longlife milk. Everyone else was giving them tins of baked beans and spaghetti.”

After the groceries had been purchased a club member chipped in with a donation of $63 of cheese.

Lyn Tankersley said while need is high, donations have dropped since last year.

“I think a lot more middle income earners are really hurting and haven’t got that extra cash, she said.”

While non-perishable items are standard, the foodbank does taken “anything edible” including vegetables and other items.

A second group to notice the need and contribute was residents of Lindale Rest Home in Masterton.

As a recreation officer at Lindale, Jo Hayes regularly reads the paper aloud to her charges, and when they were heard of the needs of people using the foodbank service, “it really touched them”, Jo said.

“They brought out money and made donations.

“I thought it was so neat. These people are 80, 90, touching on 100.”

With donations of money and food from residents and staff, a hamper of food was prepared and residents received a visit from Lyn Tankersley who spoke to them about the foodbank and received the donation.


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