Presbyterian Support Northern Foodbank hit hard by lockdown

  • Shelves almost bare at Auckland Foodbank
  • Urgent call for financial donations
  • Unprecedented demand from families for food

Auckland: A central Auckland foodbank run by Presbyterian Support Northern (PSN) has been so overwhelmed by demand that its shelves are almost bare and its freezers are almost empty.

With the current lockdown preventing public food donations, the organisation is calling for financial donations to allow it to order food from supermarkets to give to those in need.

PSN Community Relationship Manager Anne Overton says demand is up by about a third compared to the first lockdown last year.

“Many families were caught short by the sudden move into lockdown and had no time to prepare.”

“Many parents who have low-paying contract jobs, such as cleaners, are unable to work. When you live week-to-week it creates financial pressures that for some families are just too much,” says Overton.

The PSN Foodbank, located in Grafton, typically works on a referral model. Individuals and families are referred to the foodbank by PSN staff, social workers in schools, district health boards and other support agencies. The Foodbank also serves people who walk in from the street looking for help.

With lockdown preventing the movement of people, Overton says the traditional community food drive – where people drop off food to the Foodbank – is no longer applicable.

“Instead of public donations of food, we’re asking for financial donations. We have a good relationship with a local supermarket where we can buy large quantities of food and have it delivered to the Foodbank.

“The more financial donations we receive, the more food we can buy and the more families we can help during these tough times.”

Overton says food purchased from supermarkets is supplemented by fresh produce donations from KiwiHarvest and potato and onion supplier Wilcox.

“We’re always open to bulk donations from food manufacturers and meat suppliers, particularly fresh meat. Our chillers and freezers are almost empty.”

During lockdown, food parcels are delivered by volunteers following strict Covid-19 safety protocols.

Overton says a large part of the demand is driven by schools that know which families in their catchment areas are in need.

“Many schools are being proactive in supporting families of children – we recently provided 18 food parcels to one Auckland school alone.

“The problem we have is there just isn’t enough food to go around. A local community radio station was advertising our Foodbank to its listeners, but we had to ask them to stop as we simply don’t have food available.”

How to support

Financial donations to the PSN Foodbank can be made online here:

Make sure you click on Foodbank in the drop-down box.

Company or food manufacturer donations:

Contact PSN Community Relationship Manager Anne Overton on 027 520 8653,

About the PSN foodbank

Imagine not being able to feed your family properly. For some this is due to extreme financial circumstances brought about by redundancy or unemployment. At the emergency Foodbank we see the impact of poverty every day.

The need

Last financial year we distributed 2514 emergency parcels, which helped feed more than 8300 people including 4015 children. However, we receive no Government funding for this service. We depend on the generous support of the public and philanthropic grants.

Your help today

Your support will help us provide an emergency food parcel to keep a family fed while immediate measures are taken to find solutions.

Making a gift of $120 will provide a nutritious emergency food parcel to a financially disadvantaged family.

Need help to put food on the table?

Are you struggling financially? Finding it hard to feed yourself or your family during lockdown? An emergency food parcel will help you get through the tough times.

To get a food parcel

Please note, food parcels are only available on a referral basis. Please see (A) or (B) below:

(A) Ask the agency you are working with to refer you to us, or

(B) Ask your family worker, social worker in schools or financial mentor at Family Works to refer you to us.


Typical contents of a food parcel to feed a family of four include:

Fruit/ Soup

x2 Baked Beans

x1 Spaghetti

x2 Sweetcorn

x2 Tomatoes

x1 Tinned Fish

x1 Pasta

x10 Instant Noodles

x1 Long-life Milk

x2 Toilet Rolls x1 Soap Pack

x1 Cereal

x1 Crackers

x1 Rice

x1 Peanut Butter

x1 Vegemite

x1 Bag of Teabags

x1 Bread (If available)

x1 Small Mince or other protein

x1 Margarine

x1 Toiletries (if available)

- Potatoes and Onions

- Fresh fruit and veges (if available).

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