Our local food banks do a fantastic job in helping those in need across our communities.
Already under pressure to meet the demand for their services, all our local food banks have seen an increased need for food parcels during COVID-19.
Recognising a genuine need, and given the alignment with our commitment to supporting our local communities, WBS launched an initiative to donate a car-load of groceries and other essential items to each of the community based food banks that operate across the Wairarapa.
Now more than ever, our communities need extra help, and this is just one of the ways that WBS continues to support and give back to the region that we’ve called home for nearly 150 years.
Our region is fortunate to have food banks in each of our major towns, with food banks located in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough. Collectively, they supply food for literally hundreds of people across the Wairarapa region. The impacts of COVID-19 have only increased the need for their services and all the food banks and fantastic volunteers who run them, worked tirelessly to keep up with the increased demand during this period. For example, Martinborough alone saw an increase of over 300% for food parcels during Alert Level 4. Being able to scale up and respond to changes in community needs is vital and its why WBS was so pleased to be able to play a role in helping to assist our food banks.
The food banks rely heavily on donations from the public and funding from various sources including the Ministry for Social Development, Civil Defence, as well as donations from private local businesses and WaiWaste Food Rescue. Local supermarkets are also involved and often provide groceries at discounted prices.
“It really is a Wairarapa-wide community effort and we’re just one player in helping our community food banks continue their fantastic work. It’s been a privilege and a real eye-opener to see the extent of the demand for their services that exists in our local communities. We feel really privileged to have had the opportunity to do our bit and get to meet the fantastic people that volunteer their time week after week to provide this invaluable community service” says Paul Bywater, CEO at WBS.
“However, what brought the whole WBS team down to earth was realising that a SUV stuffed to the brim with food would in most cases only meet 1-2 weeks of support for each food bank based on the demand for their services. Therefore we’re now encouraging other local business to also take up the baton and continue to support our local food banks.”
“As a community based and locally owned financial institution that is proud not to be a registered bank and has supported the Wairarapa region for close to 150 years, we’ve somewhat tongue-in-cheek tagged our initiative in social media as #stuffthebanks. We’ve always been proud to support local and in these challenging times we think it’s more important than ever that everyone steps up to help and support local people, businesses and organisations.” Mr Bywater said.
WBS would like to give a shout-out to recognise and thank all the amazing volunteers who make the food bank services possible. Without them this invaluable service simply wouldn’t happen.
WBS would also like to recognise and thank all the locally owned supermarkets who helped us to support this initiative by giving us access to heavily discounted products making sure we could maximise our donations, including:
Again, it’s just another example of how we can all support local and get fantastic results for our communities.
To donate to our regional food banks, please contact:
If you are a local business and are interested in taking part in the #stuffthebanks initiative, please contact Kirsty Ryan by emailing [email protected]