Needy families experienced a happier Christmas thanks to the generosity of Hamilton City Council staff.
Staff were inspired by Hamilton South community adviser Trish Cree, along with administrators Amanda Linn and Kelly Allen, who organised a collection to bolster the empty shelves of the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank.
The collection was arranged for December as foodbank volunteers prepared to assist struggling families through the festive season.
This year the foodbank distributed a record number of parcels to a record number of people requiring assistance.
More food parcels than ever have been provided through the generosity of private and corporate donors. Earlier this year city businesses and clubs joined the Hamilton News' Foodbank Challenge to swell foodbank shelves and allow more parcels to be made up.
This year foodbanks have noticed working families, as well as beneficiaries and the elderly, among its clients.
Another move to assist families feeling the pinch saw the Countdown Food Rescue programme launched in the Waikato late last year. It will help provide good food to those who need it.
Groceries Countdown cannot sell, that remain safe to eat, will now be redirected to The Salvation Army wherever possible.
Director of The Salvation Army's Community Ministries in Hamilton Lieutenant-Colonel Wilfred Arnold says there is a huge increase demand across the region, especially Rotorua, Tokoroa, Hamilton and Whakatane.
"The team in our Hamilton centre, for example, distributed 1661 food parcels in the year to September, 2011. These parcels were distributed to 888 families or individuals, of which 580 had never received food assistance before."