Your donations towards food purchases will change lives for the better. Each week thousands of Kiwis unable to meet their food costs are helped by food parcels providing them a hand up when they need it most. Last year The Salvation Army alone distributed 55,425 food parcels to those in need. That’s a lot of food and we rely on generous food donations from businesses and individuals to meet this demand. Your support purchasing our most needed food items will help directly fill our food parcels.

When are food parcels needed?

While food parcels are needed throughout the year for individuals and families facing sudden unexpected costs associated with job losses, health problems or vehicle repairs, we see seasonal increases in demand during winter when living costs are higher with additional heating, travel and medical needs. February’s return to school is another hard time for families who struggle to cover the Christmas and holiday costs, as well as school fees uniforms and stationery costs. We are particularly grateful for donations which come at these peak times.

Who receives food parcels?

All sorts of people come to The Salvation Army looking for help with food. Individuals, solo parents, small families and large families, those in work and those who aren’t – rising living costs especially in Auckland and Christchurch can lead many to seek help.

At The Salvation Army food parcels are provided by social workers alongside budget advice and other social welfare support and advice to help address the challenges which have caused the need for support.

Depending on the circumstances, some may need help for just a short period, while for others assistance over a period of months can make the difference to clear debt and get back on their feet. The food parcels we give out are all recorded in our database so we can understand and prepare for the changing patterns of demand.

How do food parcels provide a hand up?

By working with Salvation Army budget advisors, clients can redirect the money they would normally spend on household food to address short-term costs or debt. Over time, this regular food assistance helps families get out of debt and on top of their living costs. 

What goes into a food parcel?

Food parcels are packed in large banana boxes each week with core non-perishable items such as canned food, rice, pasta, cereals, beverages and toiletries. As well as the staples needed for meals, snack items are included for school lunch boxes. Fresh items are added to the food parcel just before they are collected by our clients.

Find out more about how our Royal Oak foodbank operates through this 6 minute video.

Who donates to The Salvation Army foodbanks?

The vast majority of food in Salvation Army food parcels comes from many generous businesses who donate unwanted food to Salvation Army foodbanks on a regular basis. Some of the food is produced specifically for The Salvation Army, while other food is no longer saleable because it is nearing its best before date, has marked packaging or is a cancelled order. Sometimes donations are substantial and are delivered in pallets for storage in our storerooms, chillers and freezers. Smaller, regular donations from supermarkets and smaller food businesses are usually collected by Salvation Army staff and volunteers in vans and small trucks.

Countdown's Food Rescue programme makes a significant contribution to The Salvation Army's foodbanks. Last year more than $1.5m in food was provided from around 140 stores nationwide.

Who helps produce The Salvation Army's food parcels?

Preparing Salvation Army food parcels wouldn't happen without a large team of staff and volunteers who collect food donations, sort, store and pack the food parcels across The Salvation Army's national network of food banks. Volunteers come from all walks of life and include people who have previously received food or other help, members of community organisations and staff from businesses wanting to help out. In some locations, people on community service also help pack the food parcels.