Konda Herath / Equipment.
The Salvation Army and other service providers have seen an increase in the number of people in need in this lockdown. (File photo)
Community groups say the lack of school lunches and part-time work has added to the growing financial pressure on families.
Salvation Army Assistant Corps Leader and Director of Community Ministries Rose Johnson said the additional costs meant more people were needed than last year’s lockdown.
With children usually having breakfast and lunch provided by their schools, staying at home was an added financial burden. Johnson added that people at home tend to overeat.
Access to food was a problem for others. Some single parents with young children find going to the supermarket a challenge.
Johnson said more “working poor” are going to the charity for help. Many people were staying on low-paying jobs on Saturdays when the alert level 4 came.
With part-time and casual roles shut down during the lockdown, families were struggling with wage cuts and extra costs.
“They can’t manage any more from this week to Saturday. That’s not enough.”
Paul Hampton, director of the Victory Boxing Program, said the sudden introduction of Level 4 made the lockdown difficult for many.
“The last time in my experience, people faced this challenge. This time it’s a little tough. I definitely feel for all businesses.
“A lot of people are fighting right now.”
Hampton said Victory Boxing did its best to stay in touch with families who needed help during the lockdown. He kept telling people how they were doing, and encouraged others to do the same.
Hampton said the only thing people can do to help others right now is reach out to the people around them and touch the base.
Victory Boxing will reopen during Level 2, and Hampton urges members to “stay in touch.”
Julie Jane, manager of the Nelson Community Food Bank, said it was busy sending an estimated 25 parcels a day.
“Our volume is usually four times that.”
Many food bank volunteer teams were working extra shifts. Temporary drivers were found driving three times a day to deliver and assist volunteers.
Jane said the food bank received a great response from the community when they asked for help last week. The organization received large donations of food and money.
He thought that the demand for food parcels would remain high for the next two to three weeks as people’s money would not come for a while. Many hospitality jobs will take some time to return to normal.
Many families rely on free lunch and breakfast at their children’s school, Jane said. When these lunches were not available, the pressure on families increased “too much.”
The food packages contained a mixture of pantry items and fresh food such as meat and vegetables. Other items may be added on request, such as sanitary products or children’s products or toilets.
Jane thanked the volunteers for their extra efforts: “I couldn’t do this without them.”
Jane also acknowledged “excellent” community support.
If people want to contribute, they can donate, allowing the food bank to buy fresh food. Donations can be made through the organization’s website, foodbank.co.nz/nelson-community-foodbank.