Thursday, 12 December 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

New freezer delivered as food bank launches Christmas appeal

The Whitianga Community Services Trust - also known as Whitianga Social Services - has taken delivery of a brand new freezer, just in time for the organisation’s annual Christmas food bank appeal.

The large chest freezer will make co-ordinating the food bank more manageable for staff and volunteers and allow more perishable foods like fresh meat to be included in the food parcels that are handed out.

The trust’s manager, Sheryll FitzPatrick, said limited storage had been an issue for the food bank previously. “Being able to freeze items like meat and bread when they are donated means we will be able to improve the overall nutrition of the parcels and manage our stocks much easier,” she said.

The new freezer is the result of an effort across the community with multiple groups and organisations playing their part. Those involved gathered at the Whitianga Social Services building on Cook Drive on Thursday last week to celebrate the collective effort where Raewyn Hildreth of C3 Church in Whitianga blessed the freezer and the staff and users of Whitianga Social Services.

“Initially, the Lioness Club of Whitianga approached us to see if there was anything we needed help with. After some discussions, we decided to present to them the idea of a new freezer and how that would benefit the community. The ladies very kindly agreed to support it and gave us a donation of $1,600,” Chrissy Roe, receptionist at the organisation, said.

With the funding in place, the trust then approached 100% Whitianga who supplied the freezer at a significant discount and organised free delivery. Social worker, Ben Conning, said the freezer would be a huge asset, with the food bank experiencing ever-increasing demands. “A lot of people are struggling. Whenever possible we try to support them by directing them to budgeting services or helping them to access Work and Income payments. We try to use the food bank for emergency situations only,” he said. Despite this, the food bank still handed out 150 parcels in 2018 and thoughts are now turning to Christmas and what is inevitably a time of particularly high demand.
“Throughout the year, we are able to fund the food bank through donations from the churches in Whitianga and food supplied by local businesses, including our supermarkets, our bakeries and our butchers. However, in the run-up to Christmas, we will be making up between 70 and 80 food parcels and we are asking the community to help us with this once again,” said trust secretary, Peter van der Putten.

“We have made available two collection points in Whitianga - the Coghill Street Family Op Shop and the Social Services Centre in Cook Drive - where people can drop off non-perishable items and maybe some special Christmas treats.”

Suitable things for donation include tinned products such as meat, fish, vegetables, stews, soups, baked beans and spaghetti, as well as rice, pasta, noodles, milk powder, cereal, tea and coffee. The food parcels support all sectors of the community, including the elderly, people living alone and families.

Pictured: Attending a morning tea to acknowledge all those who helped provide a new freezer for the Whitianga Community Services Trust food bank were (from the left) -  Ben Conning (social worker), Ron Aylan-Parker (trustee Whitianga Social Services), Mark Milmine (owner 100% Whitianga), Jenny Robertson (Lioness Club of Mercury Bay president), Raewyn Hildreth (C3 Church), Chrissy Roe (receptionist Whitianga Social Services), Sheryll Fitzpatrick (manager Whitianga Social Services), Vicki Southon (counsellor Whitianga Social Services) and Peter van der Putten (Whitianga Social Services secretary).

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