Growing demand for food parcels

The Press | Wednesday, 15 August 2007
More people are relying on food parcels as the cost of eating starts to bite, charity workers say. Nelson Salvation Army community ministries manager Jill Knight said the 9.6 per cent rise in milk prices last month affected the most critical area of food products that were vital for a healthy diet. “And it’s getting less and less affordable.” Clients on ordinary and low incomes were finding it increasingly challenging to stretch their food budgets, with mothers often missing meals to feed their children and single people finding the struggle even harder, Knight said. Most people had not eaten a meal for two or three days before they sought help, she said. Increasing numbers of people were being forced to seek food assistances from agencies and she predicted the situation would get worse. “They are ordinary decent hard-working people down on their uppers,” said Knight.Christchurch City Missioner Michael Gorman said demand for the City Mission food bank had “certainly increased”. “Beneficiaries are struggling enormously. Above that we have the working poor and they’re also struggling. Now we’ve started to notice working people on lowish incomes coming in. We never used to see them.” Gorman said the climbing prices were affecting staple foods like milk and vegetables and he thought the Government should drop GST on those healthy food items. The latest food price index shows prices increased by 1.2 per cent last month, with milk rising by nearly 10%.