Community

Fears over low food stocks for stricken elderly

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help. Photo: Chloe Ranford/LDR

Marlborough’s elderly may be missing out on vital food supplies.

Emergency civil defence staff and volunteers have been working hard to provide support to at risk people in the community.

But a lower than expected number in food parcels going out means some vulnerable older people may be doing without.

Marlborough Civil Defence emergency manager Brian Paton says he is concerned some people are not reaching out for help.

“I’m a little bit concerned that some older people at home may have next to nothing.

“They really do need to stay at home but online delivery if you don’t have a computer or you can’t pay for it makes it really difficult,” he says.

Response team volunteers have been dropping off food parcels to those who have contacted Marlborough District Council.

Marlborough has about 7500 people aged over 70-years-old.

Many have been helped by their own churches and community groups, says Brian.

But with just 37 parcels delivered so far, he is worried some people are slipping through the cracks.

“Our response team are delivering food and keeping up where we need to but at the moment, we are only supplying 37 food parcels and that strikes me as a little bit too low,” he says.

Across New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are ringing up 150,000 people over 70 who do not have a cell phone or email.

Brian says anyone who needs help in Marlborough can contact the council 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“I understand that non-government agencies have been helping male phone calls to these people and visiting if they don’t get a response.

“A lot of our community groups are really stepping-up and looking after people but please contact council if you need help.”

Food is being provided to vulnerable sectors in the community by the council.

If people are struggling to pay, council will pick up the cost in the first instance, Brian says.

To contact council for help, ring the 24-hour number on 520 7400 or email [email protected]

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