A new initiative is aiming to put food in the mouths of thousands of Kiwis this Christmas, and is calling on fellow New Zealanders for support.
With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing tough economic conditions for many this year, there are predictions that one in five Kiwis risk going hungry over the holiday season.
Now, Anchor has partnered with the New Zealand Food Network to help feed at least 15,000 people across the country.
The initiative will see "food ambulances" filled with Christmas hampers delivered to where they are needed most, from Invercargill to Kaitaia. The hampers will be subsidised by New Zealand Food Network's partners - which include T&G Gresh, Sanitarium and Griffins - but fellow Kiwis are also being asked to make a donation so the initiative can help as many people as possible.
Gavin Findlay, chief executive of the New Zealand Food Network, says a $25 donation will help feed a family of four at Christmas.
"The issue of food poverty in this country is a very real problem – and the onset of COVID-19 has only amplified the issue," says Findlay.
The New Zealand Food Network acts as a centralised distribution point that connects food donors and food hubs around the country. It manages the distribution of nutritious food, including produce, chilled food and groceries, to food hubs such as the Salvation Army, city missions, iwi, and local food banks, who in turn service more than 650 frontline charities and organisations throughout New Zealand.
"The New Zealand Food Network was founded with the purpose of delivering nutritious food to charities across the country; however, we are facing an unprecedented challenge with Christmas just around the corner. We hope this appeal with Anchor will resonate with everyday New Zealanders, and together we can help thousands of our fellow Kiwis," says Findlay.
As part of the initiative Anchor has donated $100,000 retail value of dairy products to be used in the hampers.
Mike Boness, New Zealand marketing director of Fonterra, one of the founding partners of the network, says he hopes the campaign will "shine a spotlight on the issue of food poverty in our own backyard".
All donations made by the public will go directly to funding the food sourcing, creation and distribution of the hampers.
Donations can be made here.