[Gisborne Herald] The Gisborne Herald
East Coast Community Foodbank featured on TVNZ's I News last night
Forestry families continue to be hit hard by the financial impact of the coronavirus but East Coast Community Foodbank, supported by Gisborne businesses and the public, is offering full support.
East Coast Community Foodbank spokesman Johnathan Pere said the foodbank had given out 61 food parcels since the announcement of forestry industry workers being laid off,
"What is really surprising is that other families in need tell me they would rather have their parcels be given directly to those forestry families.
"The logging community is a priority at this moment, but others who need our assistance, please still contact us."
East Coast Community Foodbank featured on TVNZ's I News last night.
Mr Pere told the channel the foodbank was busy with food requests from forestry workers.
"Not only have their wages been completely halved, their wages have been completely cut," he said.
One forestry worker, on reduced pay and using the foodbank, told TVNZ her whanau had to cancel plans to buy their Housing NZ home.
"Yesterday was OK with the pay. Hopefully it's not too bad next fortnight."
EastCoast Food Community Foodbank was grateful to all donors, especially "our regular locals who have supported and donated to us before the virus outbreak", said Mr Pere.
"We recently received a huge boost to our shelves by CPS Civil Project Services, who wanted to donate in wake of the logging lay-offs. Two of their staff, Drew Williamson and Simone Grogan, and myself did a big shop at Pak'nSave.
"Other community organisations like Turanganui a Kiwa Activity Centre have given us a huge boost and there has been a recent inquiry of support from Taiki E! Tairawhiti Impact House.
"When we receive those big donations we can provide families immediate assistance with no questions asked.
"We provide delivery, which helps families, because most cannot afford petrol or do not have a vehicle.
"I'm organising volunteers who will deliver parcels up the Coast, and to Patutahi, Manutuke, and Te Karaka, so we can reach more families at designated drop-off zones."
Mr Pere said powdered milk, tin foods - including tin fruits - sugar, cereals, flour, vegetables, toilet paper, and hygiene products seemed to be the main items families were wanting.
Mothers needed expensive products like sanitary items but "tell me they buy food rather than tend to their own needs".
The foodbank always needed more donations.
"Donations will be needed now and forever because at this moment we have a coronavirus, but we also want to be prepared for a natural disaster to hit the area or if other industries are hit with loss of jobs.
"East Coast Community Foodbank works by people and community power, and right now that is working naturally and progressively," said Mr Pere.
But the foodbank would also directly contact big companies for support, he said.
■ The foodbank can be contacted through its Facebook page, by emailing [email protected] or by phoning 027 390 5752.
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