Please, Sir, can we have some more .... chicken, sausages, mince, milk, cheese, pasta, tinned food, peanut butter, jam?

Those are items that would make up a food parcel to nourish a struggling Whangārei family.

Despite a caring public helping the nationwide Foodbank Project pass a major milestone — $1 million worth of food donations — the Salvation Army's Whangārei foodbank is still desperate for basic essentials to help people over winter.

Foodbank supervisor Gay Mateo said the level of need hasn't eased since Christmas, whereas in most years there is a lull before winter starts.


On Friday, by lunchtime the foodbank had given out ''only'' 13 parcels; the day before it was 23.

Mateo said the range of help the Army offers would not be possible without donations from the public, local companies and stores.

''Every morning we pick up leftover buns and bread from Countdown and deliver them to different schools. In the school holidays we take the bread to other agencies who then distribute it.''

Items in the food parcels differ depending on what is on the foodbank's shelves.

''Today, we are totally out of pasta, spaghetti, baked beans, flour. We have absolutely none of those in here today. Those are very easy and families like them. We need any kind of tinned food, really.''

Also always needed are personal hygiene items, including soap and toothpaste, Mateo said.

The online Foodbank Project, a joint initiative between the Salvation Army, Nelson-based developers Lucid and Countdown supermarkets, has just ticked over that $1 million mark in donations since its launch in 2015.

In those four years it has provided more than 33,000 food parcels and other essentials for Kiwis in need.


New Zealand's only online foodbank, it enables people to make donations from home, in addition to the purple bin collections in Countdown's supermarkets.

Online donors can choose from a range of products posted online. Countdown then packs and delivers them to the nearest Salvation Army foodbank hub.

The Foodbank Project and Countdown's Food Rescue Winter Appeal are also part of the supermarket's national Food Rescue programme which combined saw $3.7 million of food and other items donated to The Salvation Army and other foodbanks last year alone.

The online system allows for fresh food to be donated, something not possible with traditional in-store donation bins. Records show the majority of donors are women and almost half donate regularly, often once a month.

Online donors are linked to their nearest Salvation Army foodbank and the most-needed items locally are regularly updated online.