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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Support for food costs

Tautoko te hoko kai

There 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 are 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 do not have to pay the grant back. You can apply online via MyMSD or by contacting Work and Income.

Food banks

If you cannot 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 are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You do not 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

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 will pay elsewhere.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed January 2024.


Page reference: 753392

Review key: HIDIN-36726