Topics: Health, Housing

More families seeking food grants

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Rotorua charity organisation Love Soup is dealing with a large demand for food grants from local families.  This comes after a report from The Ministry of Social Development who say this is partly due to rising house costs.

Love Soup spent today making parcels of food that will be delivered to families in Rotorua.  The organisation also says there is a growing demand due to an increase in living costs.

“Do I pay my rent, or do I buy food, or do I pay power?...So those were the choices- now it's between the rent and the food and you can't afford to not pay your rent because you will become homeless really quickly,” says Gina Peiffer of Love Soup Rotorua.

The Ministry of Social Development has released information regarding the distribution of special needs grants.

The report says that there has been an increase of 23 percent for the special needs grant for food and that this is largely due to the rising housing costs.

“We realised that rents were going up, benefits were not, food was going up and people were buying food as last resort after paying their rent,” says  Peiffer.

In 2014, special needs grants were given to 363,654 nationally.  In 2017 the demand increased by another 130 thousand people and Love Soup says the figures reflect a sad reality. “We are servicing six to eight thousand people a month- right across Rotorua- with this food rescue so it's incredibly important”.

The Ministry for Social Development say that they have made it easier for people to access food grants and encourage anyone who may be facing financial stress to get in touch with them.