Countdown and The Salvation Army are putting a call out for Kiwis to donate much-needed food ahead of what is expected to be the busiest winter food banks have ever seen. The new Food for Good Winter Appeal, which started at Countdown stores nationwide this week, encourages people to donate what they can to their fellow Kiwis who might be doing it tough, and Countdown will match it.

This winter, The Salvation Army is expecting to need to help more than 50,000 New Zealanders, a significant proportion of whom are experiencing food insecurity for the first time in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Winter demand for food support expected to grow by at least 60 per cent from last year.

New Zealanders can donate non-perishable food and other essentials at any Countdown store in the designated donation bins, or donate a winter food parcel online through The Foodbank Project, the country’s only online foodbank. Donated items are then distributed through The Salvation Army’s community hubs across the country.

Jono Bell, The Salvation Army’s director of community ministries, says that they are hoping to raise around $500,000 of groceries during the Food for Good Appeal, which will help set up the Army’s foodbanks to meet the massive demand they are expecting throughout the colder months.

“Winter is an extremely hard time of year for many of us as living costs like power bills increase. Unfortunately food is often the part of an already stretched budget that has to be compromised, and this year that will be compounded even further by job losses and reduced incomes.

“A food parcel won’t solve everything, but it’s the difference between parents and children going hungry which I can’t believe any Kiwi would want to see,” says Jono Bell.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, says with the anticipated demand ahead for the nation’s foodbanks, matching donations to try and reach $500,000 of food for winter felt like an important goal to aim for.

“This winter there will be many Kiwis who find themselves needing support from foodbanks for the first time ever. Even a tiny gesture like a packet of pasta will make a huge difference – so that’s why our message is donate what you can. It doesn’t have to be a lot, and we’ll match it to make it go even further.

“The past four months have proven just how generous and caring we are as a country so now we’re asking for our customers’ help to make sure no one goes hungry this winter,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Countdown’s Food for Good Winter Appeal runs from 22 June – 19 July and is the first fundraising appeal under Countdown’s new Food for Good Foundation. Earlier this month the Foundation donated $1million to food welfare agencies and aims to provide meaningful and long-lasting support to our communities, giving all Kiwis the opportunity to thrive, and helping to build a stronger, healthier New Zealand for future generations.

Customers can donate items in store or at New Zealand’s only online foodbank at The Foodbank Project: https://www.foodbank.org.nz/collections/winterbundles

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