Highest Number of Food Parcels Ever Distributed by Mission
MEDIA RELEASE: AUCKLAND CITY MISSION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7th AUGUST 2018
Auckland City Mission Distributes Highest Number of Food Parcels in Their 98 Year History
Food insecurity is forcing an increased number of desperate Aucklanders to visit food banks to feed their families.
“There is a hunger crisis in our country,” says Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly. “In the past 12 months, the City Mission has distributed 15,879 emergency food parcels, up from 12,753 the previous year. That’s a 22 per cent increase and the highest in our 98-year history.”
“Our work in this area shows that food is a discretionary item in the budget of low-income New Zealanders. Someone with an income of $500 a week and expenses of $480 will only have $20 left for food, and if an emergency occurs, that money will get squeezed. This means people are unable to afford enough appropriate, quality food, and find they need to ask for emergency food assistance. It is a major source of shame and stress for these families.”
Mr Farrelly also notes that a large percentage of those coming to the Mission for emergency food support are doing so for the first time. “There can sometimes be a perception that people become dependent on food parcels, however the majority of those who come to the Mission – around 84% - only do so once or twice in their lives,” he says.
“Food parcels are something that families turn to when they’re in crisis: when a job has been lost, someone becomes ill, relationships fall apart and a family has no one else to turn to. What is concerning is the increased number of kiwi families facing this situation.”
Because New Zealand does not measure food insecurity, unlike other OECD countries, the extent of the problem remains hidden – and there’s limited understanding of the complex issues that lead to people going hungry.
This year, a key staff member at the Mission is undertaking research into the severity of food insecurity in New Zealand and its impact on the mental health of the people who are experiencing it. The research is being conducted via a survey recording the responses of 1,000 Aucklanders who access emergency food parcels through the City Mission and their satellite foodbanks. They expect to have preliminary results later this year.
“When someone comes in for an emergency food parcel, the reality is that food is just the tip of the iceberg,” Chris says. “By the time they come in, they are already experiencing major poverty issues, and all the associated problems. We want to address the root of those problems, and provide appropriate and relevant support for that individual and their family.”
Around 80% of the Auckland City Mission’s services are funded through donations, and year-round, they provide emergency food parcels, low-cost health care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, outreach support for rough sleepers, support for isolated elderly people, an activities programme and community centre for central Auckland’s homeless population, and a Crisis Care service for low-income individuals and families.
The Mission is currently running their mid- year drive and are appealing to the public for donations to help them meet this large increase in demand. A donation of $25 will help buy 4 packets of 1kg precooked sausages and a donation of $65 will provide the food for a family food parcel. Donations can be made at aucklandcitymission.org.nz or by calling the City Mission on 09 303 9200.
Mission’s Winter Appeal runs until 20 August 2018.
• Food insecurity occurs when people do have consistent access to sufficient, nutritionally adequate food.
• Food insecurity is intrinsically linked to poverty. The reality is that once housing costs are paid, low-income whanau and families are often forced to choose between food and other essential costs.
• The number of people coming to food banks for emergency food assistance is increasing each year, and in the last year, the City Mission has provided 15,879 families and individuals with emergency food parcels. These food parcels fed 51,000 people, providing them with 612,648 meals.
• Please donate to the City Mission’s Winter Appeal today at aucklandcitymission.org.nz.