Second wave expected soon at foodbanks

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The heat is expected to come on Central Otago foodbanks as the full impact of Covid-19 on the district’s economy becomes known.

Demand so far had peaked in Level 4 and had levelled off, and representatives reported the district’s foodbanks had not been flooded but a second wave in demand was likely.

Alexandra Salvation Army corps officer Logan Bathurst said the town’s foodbank, run by a community foodbank trust under a combined churches umbrella since March, had experienced an increase in demand.

‘‘What we have seen was in the middle of Level 4 we had a big spike in terms of food parcels going out,’’ Mr Bathurst said.
‘‘We expect demand to sit about 60% higher than last year and a new surge is down the track.’’ These surges had historically occurred in the wake of other crises and only once wage and mortgage subsidies had ended would the full impact be known, Mr Bathurst said.

For smaller foodbanks the demand had not been great enough to inundate them yet and many requests were coming to him first as a central contact point in the district.

Central Otago Presbyterian Support Family Works team leader Stewart Hawkins reported a similar scenario, which he said could change when delegation for support at a local level was handed back to local communities.
‘‘Otago Civil Defence Emergency Management has been taking a central role,’’ Mr Hawkins said.

That meant Civil Defence had been a first-line contact for people’s welfare needs and foodbanks across the district, which Family Works provided oversight for, had been ‘‘ticking along but under duress’’.

Queenstown and the Upper Clutha area had experienced heavy and consistent demand and it was expected that would continue, he said.