Demand for Sallies food parcels increases

Salvation Army Ashburton corps officer Lt. Semi Ratu prepares to deliver a food parcel.

The emergency foodbank run by the Salvation Army in Ashburton has seen an increase in demand during lockdown, but reserves are good and people are being asked to call ahead to access food parcels.

Demand was two or three times what it normally was, said Elizabeth Ratu, who with husband Semi, is the co-officer overseeing the corps services in town.

Mrs Ratu said the Sallies were grateful for the donations of food that continued to come in.

Demand had been steady, but had spiked a little after the announcement of extending level 4.

She said the foodbank had good reserves and normally bulk bought, something it could not do at the moment.

Fresh vegetables had in come and been distributed.

Strict covid restrictions were in place and 90 percent of food parcels were picked up by people at an allocated time, she said.

Deliveries had gone as far afield as Rakaia and Mt Somers and were contactless.

Mrs Ratu said there was still a need for support in lockdown, but anxiety levels were noticeably less the second time around.

Because of the free lunch scheme that ran at some schools, parents were now faced with providing lunches at home for their children that they did not usually have to budget for.

Civil Defence, social service agencies and the hospital have all referred clients to the Salvation Army.

Clients are singles, couples and families.

The Ashburton Salvation Army is asking people in need to call ahead on 03 308 7610 or to message through the Facebook page.