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Poverty remains a ''serious'' and underestimated problem in Dunedin, Presbyterian Support Otago chief executive Gillian Bremner said this week.
Mrs Bremner gave an address on ''Poverty in the land of milk and honey'' during a University of Otago symposium titled ''Poverty: Global and Local''.
A member of the public had recently asked her if everyone accessing foodbanks really needed the support, she said.
Mrs Bremner was sure that was the case, because the second time people required food from Presbyterian Support they were asked in a more detailed way about their family needs.
Presbyterian Support was adopting a proactive approach to poverty, and recent community development work in Pine Hill had helped counter poverty issues and strengthened community ties, she said.
Poverty not only existed in ''the land of milk and honey'' but some families faced tough choices at times about whether to have food or to heat their homes.
Poverty contributed to ''fraught relationships'' and to ''greatly narrowing'' the possibilities of family life.