MORE than $2.2 million of Winz emergency grants for food and
electricity were made in Otago, Southland and Timaru in the
year ending September 2013.
Winz southern regional commissioner John Allen said he
encouraged those struggling to make ends meet to contact Winz
for financial support.
Work and Income could provide one-off payments to those in
financial hardship to pay for essentials, including food and
The grants for food did not need to be repaid but electricity
Non-beneficiaries could apply for a food grant that did not
need to be repaid.
Presbyterian Support Otago Family Works director Paul Hooper
said people who had never been to a food bank before had been
asking for support for the first time in the past year.
''We call them the new poor.''
These people had recently lost jobs or had fewer hours of
work, found it hard to accept support from a food bank and
lacked the ''resources and resilience'' to find support ''in
times of strife'', Mr Hooper said.
''They need support to budget and make ends meet.''
Family Works ensured clients had checked if they were
eligible for a Winz grant.
The demand for food from Family Works was high and there were
fewer suppliers, Mr Hooper said.
''Organisations that used to supply food are no longer in
existence,'' Mr Hooper said.
However, a new organisation called FoodShare collected excess
fresh and frozen food from donor businesses, such as markets,
cafes and bakeries, and distributed it to social service
''We are getting a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables where
there's oversupply, or its short-dated. They [FoodShare] have
been fantastic. In fact, I don't know how we would have done
it without them.''