Countdown has started its annual Christmas Food Rescue Appeal to help the growing number of New Zealanders who have registered for food assistance. Partnering with The Salvation Army, Countdown supermarkets are collecting donations to help meet the increasing need for food parcels around the country at Christmas.
The supermarket is encouraging shoppers to help support 17,000 families in need over Christmas by making a food donation in-store, or a donation at the checkout.
The Salvation Army’s National Secretary for Social Services, Major Pamela Waugh, says that the patterns are changing with the New Zealanders whom register for food assistance. “We’re seeing more people who are struggling because of rising living costs. And they need help. In the last three months, more than 4,000 new families or individuals have registered for food parcel assistance with us,’ says Pamela Waugh. “We’ve also seen significant growth in the number of single men who are struggling to make ends meet with costs often associated with issues such as inadequate accommodation.”
“The lead up to Christmas is one of the peak times people need food parcel assistance as they face a sudden increase in expenses and expectations. The generosity of New Zealanders through their food donations is essential for us to be able to help those in need during the holiday period,” says Waugh.
All 172 Countdown stores will also donate $500 of groceries to their local Salvation Army centre, contributing an extra $86,000 of groceries to The Salvation Army’s food banks nationally.
Dave Chambers, Countdown’s Managing Director, says this is one important way supermarkets around the country can use their presence in local communities to help improve what can be a stressful time financially for many Kiwis. “It’s a time of the year when it’s really tough for some families to make ends meet, let alone celebrate Christmas. Our partnership with The Salvation Army aims to ease the stress for some of these families.
“Every little bit collectively makes a huge difference to families in need, which is why we’re asking New Zealanders to consider adding a little extra purchase, whether it’s a tin or something else non-perishable to their weekly shop. They can then donate them in specially marked trolleys at their local Countdown,” says Chambers.
The most useful items for The Salvation Army will be highlighted with ‘Donate me’ signs and customers can also make cash donations at the checkout. Most-needed food items for the Christmas Food Rescue Appeal include:
- Pasta and rice
- Canned spaghetti and baked beans
- Canned fruit and canned vegetables
- Canned fish and canned meat
- Sauces and spreads
- Sugar and flour
- Lunch box and snack food items such as muesli bars, nuts
- Tea, coffee and Milo
- Toiletries, hygiene and cleaning products including nappies.
The Countdown Christmas Food Rescue Appeal is part of an ongoing programme that provides more than $3.4 million in food each year to food bank partners including The Salvation Army, Countdown’s national food bank partner.