Foodbank being 'stretched'

Mosgiel Foodbank volunteers Julie Eaton (left) and Kerrie Russell (right) help foodbank co...
Mosgiel Foodbank volunteers Julie Eaton (left) and Kerrie Russell (right) help foodbank co-ordinator Michelle Kerr make food parcels. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.

Demand for food parcels in Mosgiel is at a 10-year high, the foodbank says.

Mosgiel Community Foodbank co-ordinator Michelle Kerr said demand had been "steadily increasing'' all year, however, the past month was extremely busy.

"I am at a bit of a loss as to why it is so busy,'' Ms Kerr said.

"I just think having expenses that the benefit is not covering, not that lots of people who come to us are on the benefit, but the increase in expenses and not wages.''

Last month, 70 parcels were given out, up from 55 on an average month, she said.

The service was used by a diverse group of people from Green Island to Taieri Mouth.

"Often people are fairly disgruntled,'' she said.

"Many are not wanting to be here, but their circumstances are not allowing for them to not have the support.''

The foodbank was managing the demand for assistance thanks to 12 volunteers who kept the service open five days a week and support from local businesses, she said.

"We help anyone who is struggling and we are managing because we have a good community.

"You can't do anything without a good community.''

Many foodbank clients were on their final of four automatically entitled parcels, she said.

To qualify for more they would have to visit a service such as Work and Income or a doctor.

Ms Kerr believed all services were "stretched.''

"We are busy. Any excess goes back into the community.

"If I have got surplus crates of bread to get rid of that's not hard. They just go into our poorer families.

"One loaf of bread isn't going to do a big family.''

Supplies of plastic bags and personal hygiene items were often low, she said.

"People like to be able to smell good, that helps them feel good, so it is important.''

Despite being so busy, the job was still enjoyable.

"I love it,'' Ms Kerr said.

"When I started out I was doing it once a day, five days a week.

"Now I'm doing it seven days a week.''

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