Demand for food banks remains high following Covid-19 pandemic

New Zealanders are having to resort to food banks more than ever before in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Charities helping feed hungry people says corporate donations are making a big difference. Source: 1 NEWS

Charities helping feed hungry people said corporate donations were making a big difference.

Belinda Diamond, manager of the national food rescue charity KiwiHarvest, said demand for their food was growing. The charity rescues food from going to waste and distributes it to those in need.

“The need out there is growing from our charity recipients and from whānau and individuals out there,” she said.

A school social worker at Kia Aroha College in South Auckland’s Ōtara said families were struggling even before the pandemic.

Now, the school was afraid of what life might look like after it.

“It’s taking a load off our families to be able to provide that,” she said of the food KiwiHarvest provided.

“[The] majority of our students at school don't come to school with breakfast or lunch.

“We provide lunches for all of our students everyday, so we utilise some of this food for the school lunches as well as making food packs for families in need.”

Supermarket chain Countdown came under fire during the lockdown with shoppers angered by its removal of "specials".

But now, Countdown is donating $1.5 million to 35 food banks and charities around the country.

“We’re very conscious of our role to play there as a food business,” general manager of corporate affairs Kiri Hannifin said.

“It's not tokenistic. We've got a really long-standing relationship with food rescue in NZ. We've had it for years.”

Those on the front lines said all donations were welcome.

KiwiHarvest’s Ms Diamond said: “Everybody's lifting their game in this space and that's because it's needed.”

The Salvation Army reported a 330 per cent increase in demand.

Salvation Army community engagement manager Rhonda Middleton said people who had never used a food bank before were now needing it.

“[It] helps us be able to make decisions that are empowering for our people who are really in need.”