Wanted: food donations for Countdown winter appeal

If you’ve been watching the news, you’ll know that there is an increasing number of people needing help just to put food on the table in New Zealand. Winter 2017 saw demand for food parcels rise by 6 per cent in June, July and August; we’re only into May this year, and already the demand for food parcels has increased by 5 per cent.

It’s a terrifying figure, and one that Countdown and The Salvation Army are again addressing in their annual Food Rescue Winter Appeal, in what many fear could be New Zealand’s busiest winter ever for food banks.

More than 30,000 families are expected to need food and other relief from The Salvation Army this winter. Last winter, there was a six per cent increase in demand when compared to 2016. Both Hamilton and Whangarei stood out as areas in particular need, with a 30 per cent and 19.25 per cent increase in demand respectively.

The Appeal runs from today until Sunday 17 June and was set up specifically to help New Zealanders who are struggling to make ends meet during the cold months, when budgets are often incredibly stretched with doctor visits and higher power bills.

Customers can donate food in any Countdown store via the designated purple Food Rescue bins, donate a winter food bundle online via The Foodbank Project, or donate money in-store at the checkout. Donated items are then distributed through The Salvation Army’s community hubs across the country.

The Salvation Army’s National Secretary for Social Services, Major Pamela Waugh, says the Countdown Food Rescue Winter Appeal for foodbanks is an example of Kiwis supporting one another in times of need.

“Last year we were overwhelmed by the support The Salvation Army received from Countdown’s Food Rescue Appeal. From April to September, we gave out a total of 31,548 food parcels, thanks to the support of communities around New Zealand.

“People across the country are struggling with housing, the onset of winter and the cost of living amongst many other things. It’s great to see everyone come together and donate – all donations, no matter how large or small, mean so much to these families and help to make winter a little more bearable,” says Major Waugh.

The most needed items this winter include:

  • Fresh and frozen meat
  • Root vegetables and frozen vegetables
  • Tinned goods such as spaghetti, soup and tinned fish
  • Dairy products including milk and cheese
  • Hygiene items

As part of this year’s Appeal, The Foodbank Project will host a new Winter Bundle which can be donated. The bundle is made up of a selection of most needed items, including fresh food such as a frozen chicken, potatoes and cheese; more versatile food such as spaghetti; and hygiene items such as washing powder.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin, says The Salvation Army makes a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders, and winter hits those in need the hardest.

“Each year we’re proud to support The Salvation Army. Our Food Rescue Winter Appeal is a way that everyone can help other New Zealanders during the tough winter months when other expenses take priority.”

The Countdown Food Rescue Winter Appeal is part of Countdown’s ongoing Food Rescue programme which donates around $3.7 million in food each year to food rescue partners, including The Salvation Army, and a further $2.1 million of food scraps to farmers for their animals. Visit Countdown’s website for more information on the Food Rescue programme.