Foodbank calls on Government to take responsibility for feeding struggling Kiwis

A charity is calling for the Government to take more responsibility for feeding people who are struggling with the cost of living. 

The freezers are empty and supplies are running out as foodbanks struggle to keep up with demand. 

And community leader Dave Letele says his foodbank is struggling to keep up.

"If I jumped online now and said 'Come get food', we would have traffic lines out of our foodbank. It's just insane and it's not getting any better and that's the scary thing," Letele said. 

He said, unfortunately, there isn't enough for everyone. 

"That's the heartbreaking thing, having to turn people away. It's really like a dagger in my heart. I try not to open my messages because we can't help anymore."

This week alone the foodbank has distributed almost 1000 parcels. 

Letele isn't alone, Steven Price from Community Support Waitakere says the need is being felt nationwide. 

"One of the larger groups of foodbanks which cover the whole country - they've had a 40 percent increase year on year," Price stressed.

But as the need increases, Government support for charities has dried up. 

"The Government funding that came through COVID is no longer existing. So we're getting demands as high as COVID without the additional funding so that's why it's tough."

Despite cutting funding the Ministry of Social Development still sends people to their charities for help. 

Price said it's time the Government took more responsibility. 

"It's not the foodbanks job to fulfil the Government's requirement and make sure people have a basic living standard. So really you're talking about a poverty issue where they're being thrown one way and back the other."

The dire need is constantly on Letele's mind. 

"I don't enjoy Christmas because of all the pain we see," he said.

"I'm thinking about the people we can't help and that's what weighs on me."