Demand for food parcels up 30 percent in Christchurch

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Aug 28, 2022 |

Over the coming weeks, Chris Lynch puts a spotlight on poverty issues and homelessness in Christchurch, speaking to social service agencies helping the city’s most vulnerable. In this article, Christchurch City Missioner Corrinne Haines talks to Chris Lynch

Demand for food parcels in Christchurch is up by 30 percent year on year according to the Christchurch City Mission.

It follows Statistics New Zealand’s data which showed food prices were 7.4 percent higher in July 2022 compared with July 2021.

Christchurch City Missioner Corrinne Haines said demand for food and emergency beds varies from month to month and season to season.

But “demand for food parcels is up 30% year on year.

The Covid pandemic has impacted heavily on our Community.

Not just from sickness, but also economically because Covid lockdowns, stand-downs and shrinking businesses have impacted particularly on the casual and part-time work that many of our clients have relied on to get through the week.”

Christchurch City Missioner Corrinne Haines

Haines said clients have no buffers when extra costs arise, and when the slightest thing goes wrong, they are in trouble.

“The rise of mental health illness across all sectors is also having a serious impact because it worsens people’s situations and weakens their ability to cope and overcome challenges.

Addiction problems go hand in hand with mental health issues and we are seeing people presenting with much more complex problems which create challenges for us to support them.”

Haines said the Mission was also seeing more people needing help who were in paid employment.

“Again it’s their lack of resources and resilience that makes them vulnerable to setbacks and pushes them into poverty and need.

It can be a power bill, children’s school costs, a car breakdown, or any number of minor crises that can be enough to put them into debt and spiral them into trouble.”

Haines said there are up to 30 people sleeping rough in Christchurch.

Last week, Christchurch Methodist Mission Executive Director Jill Hawkey said there were over 70 homeless people living on the streets who weren’t on Housing First Ōtautahi waitlist.

That also included people with no fixed address and people couch surfing.

Haine said “with the loss of cheap housing options after the quakes, and the demolition of older houses to build multiple new houses, with increasing rental costs, we see greater numbers making do with these types of alternative living arrangements.”

The number of people being referred to alcohol and other drug services was also increasing.

“We have a wide range of support services and we make a big difference to the lives of thousands of people in Christchurch every year.

Supporting the City Mission through donations is one of the best ways that people can help others in our Community who are less well off than themselves.” 

There was some good news.

The Christchurch City Mission is building a new Transitional Housing facility that will house 60 people a year and help prepare clients to live successfully in permanent housing.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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