Lower Hutt Foodbank Suspends Its Service
The Lower Hutt Foodbank has suspended its service because it cannot operate safely in the current COVID-19 environment.
“We had no choice but to close,” says Acting Chair Paul Gandar. “We have very small premises which meant we couldn’t follow the distancing rules and keep clients, volunteers and staff safe from infection. In addition, almost all of our 30 volunteers are in the at-risk category. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to support our clients. We are providing food through partnerships with The Salvation Army and Common Unity Project. We have given them all of our food stocks and are also giving them financial support.”
The Lower Hutt community has clearly understood that emergency food will be needed even more with people losing their jobs and livelihoods as food and monetary donations are continuing to flow in. “Our community can be assured that all donations are still being used to feed those who need it, says Gandar.
“We realise that we are unlikely to be able to operate as we have in the past. In a sense, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for reflection about how we might provide the service differently. The Foodbank is now exploring different ways it could provide emergency food parcels in a future beyond COVID-19. “It is likely to be a more collaborative way of working,” he said.
The Foodbank normally provides an average of 2200 emergency food parcels annually, each of which is enough food for a week for the household. It has been providing these emergency food parcels in Lower Hutt for 35 years.