Christmas foodbank drive traded for year-round giving

The Upper Clutha’s annual pre-Christmas foodbank drive has been cancelled this year, but not because donations of food are not required.

Community Networks Wanaka manager Kate Murray said there had been an "unprecedented demand" at the foodbank this year, due to Covid-19.

About 80 food parcels were given out last month, compared with an average of 23 a month last year, she said, and that was one of the reasons for the organisation’s review of how it gathered food.

"Traditionally, most people who donate to the foodbank do so in the lead-up to Christmas, but there is demand for food parcels year round.

"The organisation has therefore decided to cancel its annual December foodbank drive and focus on restocking the foodbank throughout the year."

foodbank drive organiser Nikki McKay agreed.

"We’re a growing community and, with that, comes increasing demand for social services.

"We need a fully stocked foodbank year round to help meet that need."

Traditionally, volunteer firefighters and foodbank volunteers have driven around the Upper Clutha during December collecting donations.

Ms Murray said there would still be festive treats for people referred for a Christmas hamper and food parcel.

"They will receive a supermarket voucher to choose their own Christmas food, a box of staples from the foodbank and gifts donated by local businesses."

Donations of food and cash could still be made at the Community Hub or at New World Three Parks, she said.

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