Christmas always puts extra pressure on foodbanks, but Mike Rolton says he has never seen the need as high as it is shaping up this year.

“Its become worse, all the foodbanks will tell you that,” says Mike, who leads the team at Vinnies in Hamilton that provides food parcels for families around the city and the Waikato who struggle each week to make ends meet.

On top of this “normal” demand they are now aiming to find food and a few treats to put together hundreds of Christmas hampers in the next two weeks.

To meet the cost of this extra demand, the St Vincent De Paul charity in Hamilton, where Mike is general manager, and The Hits Waikato radio station have launched Fund A Feed. Text FEED to 206 to make an instant $3 donation; or head online to the to donate to the Fund A Feed Givealittle page.

Donate either way and be in the draw to win a $200 food hamper donated by campaign sponsor New World.

Or, If you’re shopping in Mitre 10 in Hamilton, buy a $3 inflatable hammer for $3 and the whole amount is donated to Fund A Feed.

The appeal is open until December 17 to allow time to go shopping for all the food – and hopefully a few Christmas treats to go into the festive hampers.
Fund A Feed is replacing the annual Hits Toy Run for Vinnies because of the difficulty in organising the regional collection amid the challenges of Covid and traffic light protocols.

“We have already got requests for 400 Christmas hampers, but we haven’t actually got the food for that number,” says Mike. “We’ve got food for about 150 so far, although the total needed may be nearer 500 as we get closer to Christmas.
He says the Vinnies foodbank is seeing a lot of first-time people coming for help this year.

“That’s really difficult for Kiwis today, we’re seeing a lot of mental wellbeing problems, especially after our recent lockdown, after three or four weeks you see the strain; people were really on edge, like I’ve never seen them like that,” he says.

“There’s the rent issue, there’s the low-paid-worker issue, there is a reduction in working hours, not quite so much now but in the lockdowns, there’s a combination of factors that drew them to us for help.