Increase of families needing City Mission food donations highlights poverty

By Heeni Brown

The Auckland City Mission gave more than 3000 food donations over this Christmas period, that's 1000 more food-donations than last year according to CEO Diane Robertson, who also says it signals there is no sign that the numbers in poverty are dropping, if anything, they're increasing.

Ms Robertson says people who line up outside of the Auckland City Mission for food parcels are just the surface of what she believes is a huge heap of poverty.

“I think it's absolute entrenched poverty, I don't think we know the depths for some families of how much or little they actually have, and how secure or insecure their power supply is, or how insecure most of their life is,” she says.

The mission can only cater to 250 people in a day, and for the month of December they donated 3090 food parcel to families in need.  Families are only allowed up to six parcels a year.

According to Robertson, “We actually told people to come back the next day and I think that resulted in people coming back at 3am and queuing so that they can be there first.”

“A lot of families actually wait and they hold their entitlement until Christmas.  They'll come in and get one there, and then come again in February.”

With that in mind, Robertson wants the systems already in place revised when it comes to battling poverty.

“We do have a lot of services that are out there and the majority of our families that we see have 27 agencies involved with them.  If we have so many families involved with them, why aren't we seeing a change,” she says.

Robertson hopes that by next Christmas the number of parcels needed will drop.  However she says if things don't change when it comes to bringing down the numbers in poverty, the number of parcels needed will remain the same.