Helping hand at the ready

MEAT DONATION: St Vincent de Paul’s Laura Banks (left) receives a much-appreciated meat donation from business owner Stefan Brook.
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A much-appreciated donation of frozen meat products have been given to St Vincent de Paul Society’s Ashburton foodbank.

The donation of about 40kg sausages and saveloys was given by business owner Stefan Brook, of Chicken’s Lawns and Gardens.

Brook, and wife Mieke, had beef processed and opted to give the surplus to St Vinnie’s foodbank.

‘‘I just give it away to friends usually, but there are other people out there who need it more than me,’’ he said.

It was part of an ongoing Brook family tradition of giving.

The couple made an effort to teach the value of giving to others to their children, aged four, eight and 11.

‘‘Each year we get the kids to put a present under the Heartland tree, the McDonald’s tree and the Birthright tree, and every now and then we do a Friday freebie for those who can’t afford it.

‘‘(The kids) know every year they’ve got to go and pick a present and put it under the trees.’’

St Vincent de Paul Ashburton shop manager Donna Collins said the surprise donation was ‘‘absolutely fantastic’’, especially with ongoing demand for services.

‘‘We do get meat from Meat the Need but that’s just mince, we also get food from Food Rescue, it’s usually small portions, and so to be able to give them another option aside from mince is just great.’’

Collins said St Vinnie’s had seen a number of new clients turning to the charity for help, including more struggling workers, so donations were more than welcomed.

‘‘We are starting to see an increase in people who are working and not making ends meet … working families are starting to struggle.’’

In the last fortnight, 23 families had sought food support, three of which were new to the service.

In the six-week period prior to January 31, food parcels were sought by 49 families.

‘‘We are still getting new clients, people come to us from budget advice, we refer people to budget advice if they are regular and ongoing. ‘‘WINZ, if they can’t help out, they will send them over.’’

St Vincent de Paul Ashburton shop manager Donna Collins grateful for support helping others in the community.

Collins said a food parcel, valued at about $120 each, was to last for a couple of days. It included breakfast cereal, pasta/rice,spaghetti/baked beans, tuna, frozen meat and vegetables, milk, butter, bread and, if available, fresh fruit and vegetables.

‘‘We are aiming to be a help up as opposed to a hand out. It will tide you over until your next income,’’ she said.

As well as the foodbank, St Vinnies has its op shop with clothing, furniture and household goods. There had been a ‘‘phenomenal amount’’ of people visiting and buying goods, Collins said.

The shop is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Collins said she saw no end to cost of living pressures, meaning there was an ongoing need for St Vinnie’s help.

The charity could also assist in other financial ways, including bill payments such as for car repairs and power.

‘‘Pretty much the only thing we don’t help with is a house. There is a lot of need out there definitely.

‘‘We will always be here, sadly. I can’t see us going anywhere, ever.’’

Anyone in need, or looking to refer other families or individuals, can make contact with St Vincent de Paul Society Ashburton by phoning 0276070107.