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HealthInfo Canterbury

Support for food costs

Man holding bag of vegesThere are many reasons why people find themselves in financial difficulty and need emergency help. It may be through losing a job or because of a reduction in income. If your outgoings have suddenly risen, it can become harder to make all your usual payments. You may struggle to buy the food you and your whānau/family need.

If you're on a benefit or a low income and urgently need help to buy food, you may be eligible for an emergency food grant or a special needs grant from Work and Income (WINZ). You don’t have to pay the grant back. You can apply online via MyMSD or by contacting Work and Income.

Food banks

If you can't get a grant from Work and Income, you may be able to get an emergency supply of groceries (a food parcel) from a local food bank. These are run by charities and rely on donations of fresh and packaged foods.

You must meet certain criteria to be eligible for help from a food bank. The criteria depend on the food bank but may include:

You may also be limited to a maximum number of food parcels per year.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can give you advice about getting help from a food bank near you.

Pātaka Kai

Pātaka Kai are free open street pantries. They're open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You don't have to make an appointment, fill in a form or meet criteria. Pātaka Kai encourages neighbour helping neighbour. You take what you need and leave what you can.

See Christchurch locations for locations of pantries in Christchurch.

Affordable food

Affordable Fruit & Vege Group is a non-profit group in the southeast of Christchurch. It provides weekly bags of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables for $12 or $6. The bags are usually 60% vegetables and 40% fruit.

FoodTogether is a collective of organisations that provide affordable fresh fruit and vegetables to communities. Order a week in advance and receive a bag of fruit and vegetables around half the price you'll pay elsewhere.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created June 2020.

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Page reference: 753392

Review key: HIDIN-36726