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Central Otago Foodbanks well stocked this winter

The Central App

Aimee Wilson

09 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Central Otago Foodbanks well stocked this winterCombined Ministries Mission co-ordinator Diane Barbara (left) with volunteers Kirsty Anderson (centre) and Lyn Giles. PHOTO: The Central App

Significant amounts of rescued food from local supermarkets are helping the Combined Ministries Foodbank in Alexandra to stay well replenished.

As the cost of living continues to rise, volunteers are noticing an increase in families in need, and it’s particularly those ‘every day people’ who often finding themselves short.

Co-ordinator Diane Barbara said with the opening of a second supermarket in Alexandra in late 2022, the food bank receives plenty of meat, dairy, bakery items and fresh produce up to three times a week.

The Alexandra-based foodbank has always operated out of a small space at the back at the Salvation Army, but now there are big freezers and pantries full of excess stock. 

“The community - their support is phenomenal in this area. Particularly over the past two years, they are recognising the need is there,” Diane said.

When there is excess, Alexandra has been able to assist the other food banks in the area, including Cromwell, and a new one in Roxburgh attached to the Baptist Church.

“To me the most important thing that if people are suffering hardship, they can call an agency in Alexandra and have access to the foodbank.”

Families are given allocated ‘points’ by one of the social agencies, and depending on their size and need, can then use them in any which way they want.

There’s also personal hygiene products, nappies, and other important items for families in need, “it’s about empowering the person to pick what they need,” she said.

Open Monday to Thursday from 9-12pm, the foodbank never turns anyone away, and has eight volunteers helping out with parcels on a regular basis.