Foodbanks still helping those in need

Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie says housing is Dunedin’s...
Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Dunedin's foodbanks are continuing to operate under the national lockdown, but with new, safety-conscious procedures and strict precautions against Covid-19.

Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie said the Salvation Army foodbank was continuing to operate, but with precautions, including physical distancing and the use of disinfectant and sanitisers.

A voicemail message at the St Vincent de Paul Society said its foodbank was also continuing to operate, but with changed procedures.

People seeking foodbank help could ring in advance and leave a message, and food parcels would be delivered, the message said.

Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) chief executive officer Jo Rowe said that the national lockdown and expected loss of many jobs were ‘‘uncharted territory for us all’’.

She did not have details immediately to hand but demand for the Family Works Otago foodbank had remained steady.

People were being asked to phone ahead with any requirements, and if people arrived at the foodbank they were asked to enter one at a time, to maintain physical distancing.

Some people would also be adversely affected by relatively cheap meals being no longer available to eat at cafes or to take away.

Social workers and staff were working from home.

‘‘We are still providing food parcels [but] just doing them in a different way.’’

There could be a major surge in demand for PSO services as the expected loss of many jobs took full effect in the near future.

‘‘It’s something we’re considering, being prepared for,’’ she said.

Mosgiel Food Bank co-ordinator Michelle Kerr said demand had been strong early last week but this week the situation had been very quiet, and few clients had made inquiries.

Since last week the foodbank had been operating from behind locked doors to ensure physical separation, but food was still being provided.

Clients were clearly aware of the national lockdown, and she hoped that people would show resilience and that positive outcomes could emerge from very challenging times.

She hoped that people would come to ‘‘feel better about themselves’’ and said the foodbank was ready to help.

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