Stokes Valley Foodbank get people through
Stokes Valley Foodbank provides a vital service handing out weekly food parcels to families in the local area, a service that is needed now more than ever.
Community in need
“The impact of Covid-19 has been huge,” says Sharyn Horn, Foodbank Coordinator. “Prior to the lockdown we were sending out 45 food parcels in a week; it has now increased to 200.”
Earlier in the year, the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust helped the Stokes Valley Foodbank by granting them $1,090 for the purchase of a new fridge.
“We couldn’t have done it without the fridge, “says Sharyn. “We used to borrow an old one but with so many bulk deliveries of refrigerated goods, like meat, yoghurt, fruit and veg – it was essential.”
Stokes Valley Foodbank relies on six charitable volunteers from the local community, with the two eldest being in their seventies and eighties.
Since the lockdown, not only has the number of food parcels increased, but foodbank closures in the Hutt Valley have meant the volunteers have had to make deliveries from Wainuiomata through to Petone.
“Since the lockdown, we have gone from working just Mondays to working seven-days a week. Starting at 6 am, shopping, unloading, packing, and then delivering the food parcels ourselves – we’ve all been pretty shattered,” laughs Sharyn.
Donations are vital
One food parcel provides a family in need with $150 of groceries a week. With this recent increase, more than $3,000 is still needed to sustain demand each week.
“We’ve received funding for groceries from civil defence, but we don’t know how long it will last,” says Sally Stanley, also a Coordinator at Stokes Valley Foodbank. “We’ve also had donations from Countdown Queensgate, without them we would have been in trouble. We were extremely lucky.”
Funding the future
“The next few months are uncertain. It could possibly get a lot worse, with families needing a lot more help,” says Sally.
They are grateful for the grant from Hutt Mana Charitable Trust which has helped with equipment, and they continue to look for other sources of funding in the community. “What we really need is regular, weekly funding.”
Sharyn has some advice to any community organisations considering applying to the Hutt Mana Charitable Trust for grant funding. “It was an easy process and we received the funding just a month later. It’s worth giving it a go – after all, you’ve got nothing to lose!”