For about three decades families in need in the Te Awamutu area have been well served by the Te Awamutu Combined Churches Foodbank in partnership with Kainga Aroha Community House.
But now it is the food bank that needs help — and they are calling on the community to show their support.
Food bank volunteer Reverend Shelley Walker says the team is renewing its commitment to the project and has identified a number of areas where they need to upgrade services and facilities.
The most urgent needs are assistance with upgrading the food bank storage facility, replacing the ageing fridge and freezer, ensuring there are adequate provisions to meet client needs and finding personnel who will volunteer for key positions such as food bank co-ordinator, treasurer, quartermaster assistants and food parcel delivery people.
The food bank storage facility is in urgent need of maintenance so supplies are kept in pest free, vermin free, hygienic conditions.
The team has a vision of replacing this building with a purpose built unit in the not too distant future, but the immediate goal is to undertake urgent maintenance, mainly relining and pest proofing.
They also need shelving and a packing table appropriate to the function of the group.
The food bank's fridge and deep freeze are both nearing the end of their useful lives, so replacement appliances are needed to ensure frozen goods stay frozen and goods needing to be refrigerated don't deteriorate.
As a part of the renewal project food bank is focusing on the type of help they offer clients.
"Currently we hand out food items that have been donated to us," says Shelley.
"Our long term goal is to be able to source supplies that our clients need and will use.
"Through this approach it is our hope to assist our clients to become self-reliant more quickly. At times we struggle to meet the most basic of needs and assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated."
Food bank has advertised its needs for volunteers through church communities and are hopeful that assistance will be forthcoming.
"However, because the food bank serves the whole Te Awamutu community we welcome all offers of assistance," says Shelley.
"We acknowledge that our needs are extensive and possibly too large for any one group to meet, so we would greatly appreciate any assistance that you can offer."
Volunteers are a key issue at present, but donations of food, basic household needs, hygiene products, toiletries or cash would be appreciated.
The focus for food packages are items that can be stored, plus items that can be used to put together meals.
Breakfast food is welcomed, as well as basic beverages such as tea and coffee.
Kainga Aroha Community House, next to the Methodist Church in Bank St, is the contact center for Foodbank inquiries and acts as a depository for donated items only, phone 871 6506.
Any offers of assistance or for information about volunteering for Te Awamutu Combined Churches Foodbank should be directed to Shelley, phone 027 6948779.