Foodbank numbers up 20%By Kris Faafoi, MP
There are heroes in every community. We all know them, they’re the people who tirelessly work to make sure things happen and do it with minimal fuss. Whether it is helping to organise local community groups, fundraising, sports events, the list goes on.
Recently I visited one group of dedicated people who well and truly fit the description of local heroes. Most people would hope not to meet them, but unfortunately these difficult times have seen their popularity growing.
Tucked away off Kapiti Road, near Parapraumu Beach, in a small building close to the airport resides the Kapiti Community Foodbank.
Most days you’ll find Hamish, Pam and Margaret keeping a close on customers, stock levels and the bank balance to ensure their bank meets the needs of customers.
Banks can only survive if their deposits outweigh their deposits and at times over the last 12 months this Foodbank has been close to the wire.
The numbers the Foodbank has supplied to me show a 21% increase in the number of cases they dealt with in 2012 compared to the previous years.
In total last year they helped 808 clients, well up from 666 (read nothing into that number) in 2011. That’s a big jump.
It means they’ve had to work much harder than last year and that there is much more need in the community for the food and grocery packs they hand out to those in serious need.
During my recent visit Pam and Margaret gave me a very clear message when I asked what they were seeing.
“Fewer jobs and more families,” they told me.
And again their numbers tell the story. The number of people their food parcels reach also rose by close to 20%. In 2011 the foodbank gave parcels to families that ion total reached 2176 people including adults, teenagers and children, last year that rose to 2567. That’s a lot of people facing hardship in Kapiti.
With financial banks, the bottom line is always the bottom line, but our local foodbank also deals with human costs.
They’re seeing working families who are finding things tough, where one big bill throws them out of whack for a month or two, or more seriously the loss of a job means long term hardship.
The Government’s inaction on creating jobs and getting young people into work has to be highlighted when we see numbers at local foodbanks heading north.
The stories from the foodbanks make unemployment numbers real, makes the case for a living wage stronger and shows that a lot of families are putting up a brave fight. It’s our local heroes that know what is going on.
It’s great that our local heroes are doing sterling work, but they deserve to have a Government that is doing its fair share to ensure the people who come through their doors have a chance of getting back up on their own two feet.
I always like to end on a positive note, so thanks to our local heroes at the Kapiti Community Foodbank. You all deserve well-earned recognition, as do the people who donate to you. Thanks for all your hard work in difficult times.