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Food banks have vital role

14 October 2008

Food banks have vital role

Debt, high housing costs and low incomes continue to be the main reasons people seek food bank support, says a recent report by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.

The “Snapshot Comparative Analysis of Foodbank Use,” gathered data from three food banks in Hamilton, Dunedin and Invercargill in December 2007 and compared it with similar information gathered in 2004.

Little change was found.
Rates of indebtedness remain as high as or higher than in 2004 and about a third to half of food bank users are spending more than 50% of their net income on housing costs. It also found that half of the households supported by food banks include children.

Downtown Community Ministry Director Stephanie McIntyre says, “This is sobering information and demonstrates the attention needed to address poverty in New Zealand.”

“As the report points out, food bank support is sought as a last resort and is called upon after other forms of help have been exhausted. This means that people are already facing serious difficulty when they come to us,” she says.

“We’ve just begun preparations for the food bank Christmas Food Appeal and collecting for our clients’ Christmas food hampers. These will provide much needed support to people wanting to enjoy the Christmas season without worrying about going hungry.”

The NZCCSS report can be found at www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz



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