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Food banks across Palmerston North unite to feed those in need during lockdown

Nick James
Resized tin cans image

300 hundred people a day are currently being served by a new home deliveries process formed by four food banks in Palmerston North in wake of the COVID 19 lockdown.

Methodist Social Services, Crossroads Church, the Salvation Army and food rescue service Just Zilch have combined during the alert level 4 lockdown to form the Palmerston North Food Collaboration. 

The service involves delivering a food parcel once a week to families in need in the greater Palmerston North area.

Kim Penny, General Manager of Palmerston North Methodist Social Services, said it's the first time the organisations have worked together in such a formal way.

Penny said while the food banks had collaborated together on research projects in the past, each service was different so had never needed to come together til now, but had formed more open relationships for the future.

The new service delivers to those who have housing but it also has a pick up food programme in which people who are homeless can still pick up food. However, this service does not run as normal. Bags of overnight food are dropped off at the front of the Just Zilch building for people to collect and they do not get options of what their food is.  The service is encouraging users to get their food dropped off if they can so there is as little human contact as possible.  

While there are plenty of ongoing needs in the community besides homelessness the most vulnerable have not been forgotten by the city council or community organisations during the pandemic, said Penny. 

ManawatÅ« Tenants Union Coordinator Ben Schmidt said  "from community response, food banks have doing an awesome job pulling together resources with the council and going the extra mile to make sure people still can have a decent meal and basic needs regardless of their situation."

The Palmerston North food collaboration is open Monday to Friday at Just Zilch and people can register for help by calling 0800 725 678 or registering on the Palmerston North City Council website.