Foodbank short of key supplies

Helping hand . . . Salvation Army Community Ministries manager David McKenzie and Foodbank co-ordinator Gail Geels are looking for community support to top up stocks. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Constant high demand from people in need has left the Salvation Army Foodbank scrambling to cover some basic food staples.

Salvation Army community ministries manager David McKenzie said the food gathered during the giant community can collection in December and other donations had been a great help.

“Now some key items have run out, so we are having to buy them in,” he said.

Among these were cans of spaghetti, soups, canned vegetables, chick peas and kidney beans.

Toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, cakes of soap, shampoo and conditioner would also be welcome.

Foodbank co-ordinator Gail Geels is putting extra effort into working with people who come into the Salvation Army needing food, to look into other areas where they may need help.

“The food is the most important need, but we are also finding people who are receiving inappropriate benefits are missing out on allowances. Or [those] who have issues with documentation and filling out forms,” Mrs Geels said.

“So, during the process of providing people with food parcels, we are able to stop and look a little more closely at what can be done to help them,” she said.

Mr McKenzie said the Government’s extra winter energy payment for people on benefits, and increased family tax credit entitlements, was unfortunately being counteracted by the increased price of housing.

“Housing is becoming an issue of major concern for many people,” he said.

The Salvation Army Foodbank received about 60 referrals each week for food parcels, for people who were not only beneficiaries, but also working people on low incomes and seasonal contractors.

The organisation worked closely with other Dunedin social sector groups which were all seeing people in similar difficult circumstances, he said.

The Watties Cans for Good programme will begin next month.

The programme, from August 13-24, invites kindergartens and schools nationwide to collect cans for Salvation Army foodbanks in order to restock shelves.

The goal this year is to collectively contribute more than 110,000 cans.

All donated cans will be retained for local Salvation Army foodbanks. For information, or to register, visit