Kiwifruit growers come together for foodbank drive

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New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI) is encouraging its members to pitch in and donate to the most vulnerable through The Foodbank Project, a joint partnership of Countdown, The Salvation Army and Lucid.

The drive recognises that Covid-19 continues to have an economic impact upon New Zealand with kiwis struggling financially, said the industry body, which advocates for 2,800 growers.

Despite restrictions brought about by Covid-19, the kiwifruit industry has had a successful year, returning almost $2 billion in direct payments to communities around New Zealand. The industry has also welcomed people who have been displaced from their previous employment.

NZKGI CEO Nikki Johnson said it was great to see the drive as a continuation of the 2020 grower initiative launched in the Bay of Plenty to help support the unprecedented demand due to the ongoing impacts of Covid-19.

“Growers answered the call and donated thousands of dollars’ worth of food and necessities,” she said. “As a result of the drive’s success, NZKGI committed to rolling out the appeal in other kiwifruit growing regions.”

Jono Bell, Salvation Army Territorial Director of Community Ministries, said the pressure on our clients and their whānau to make ends meet was enormous, and Covid-19 had added more uncertainty.

The Salvation Army offered immediate welfare support, food and housing, but our remit goes far beyond this, he said.

“We believe in giving people a hand-up, not a hand-out. We walk alongside people and offer practical support to improve their situations.”

Instead of utilising drop-off points for growers to deliver food, The Foodbank Project allows a more accessible way for busy donors to help Kiwis in need by donating online and choosing from a range of products and bundles that are critically needed for food parcels.

The order is then packed and delivered by local Countdown stores to The Salvation Army foodbanks of the donor’s choice.

The runs until 5 March. To join the drive, visit the website www.foodbank.org.nz/NZKGI

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