Marlborough Express - Thank you to our foodbank volunteers

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas is a time for family, for celebration and for giving, but sadly, each year a number of Marlborough families and individuals go without.

The reasons for this are many and varied, however I am always gladdened to see good-hearted Marlburians step up to support those less fortunate by giving of themselves and donating to organisations such as the Salvation Army, Foodbank and other community groups.

The people behind these organisations work hard to make sure those most in need receive their assistance, not just at Christmas but year-round.

With this in mind, it was saddening to hear that some members of our community appear to have developed a belief and expectation that they should be recipients of this assistance by right rather than seeing it as a last resort. A recent consequence of this was the cancellation of the Elim Church's Christmas lunch, which had been running for 20 years.

Cancelling the lunch was, no doubt, an incredibly difficult decision for the church to have made but Blenheim Elim Church pastor Tom Hatch's comments that many attendees have developed a sense of entitlement appear to reflect what other welfare organisations in Blenheim are currently experiencing.

Unfortunately, the kindness of the church had been abused and not everyone who walked through the doors to avail themselves of the church's generosity was truly there for the right reasons. Sadly, those in genuine need will now miss out.

I recently visited the Salvation Army in Blenheim to donate a gift and food. The food was passed to the Marlborough Foodbank where manager Winnie Cosgrove and her team of volunteers liaise with other social welfare groups to assess the needs and criteria of each family or individual before a food parcel is delivered. This, I was told, prevents people from "double-dipping" across organisations and ensures those who so generously donated the food can be sure it is going to those truly in need.

I cannot say enough about the hard work from those at the Salvation Army and the managers of our region's foodbanks. In particular I wish to extend my thanks to Winnie Cosgrove of Blenheim Foodbank and Lynette Cook of Picton Foodbank for all that they do.

I would encourage those of you wishing to help the less fortunate this Christmas to make a donation of food to foodbank – they are in need of basic grocery items such as breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, and flour.  Donations can be made at the Salvation Army or the bins provided at supermarkets.

I wish you and your friends and family a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season.