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Farmers feeding families

FEDERATED Farmers has asked the district's farmers and growers to help put fresh food on the Christmas table for Aucklanders in need this year.

The Feds have launched a Farmers Feed Families national campaign aimed at raising funds for the Auckland City Mission.

Gisborne provincial president Toby Williams was dismayed to learn how many more Auckland families were struggling as a result of the Covid-19 fallout, including loss of jobs or cutbacks to hours.

“It only costs $135 to provide a box of food for a family of four, with enough good ingredients for about four days' worth of meals.

“We are asking fellow farmers to help families pay for good, fresh food for Christmas,” he said.

“The ongoing impact of three months of lockdowns has reduced the ability of too many families to provide the necessities of life, and especially to get through Christmas. We want to do something about it,” Mr Williams said.

Farmers Feed Families encourages farmers and growers to consider giving a wee bit to the cause via a Givealittle page which links directly to the Auckland mission.

The target is to raise $100,000 — or the equivalent of about 800 boxes of food, which will each include a Christmas dinner.

“At a time when our farmers are getting OK prices, we are doing what we can when others cannot,” Mr Williams said.

Federated Farmers NZ President Andrew Hoggard said the organisation was pleased to actively support the Mission's Zero Hunger initiative.

“Sometimes Feds does things that are not about politics or regulations. We just want to feed families, especially when times are tough. Farmers feed families, that's what we do.

“We often talk about how we can make connections between farmers and urban communities, well here's how,” Mr Hoggard said.

Auckland City Mission was chosen to be the recipient because it was able to get to those who need the support most, and fast.

The Mission's Chief Executive Helen Robinson said more people have been turning to the Mission for support than ever before during this latest lockdown, and it will be a difficult Christmas for many.

“Supporting people in Auckland who are facing the greatest need is a very real way farmers can connect with the city where the majority of their produce and meat is consumed.

“This year the mission has supported more people than ever before through providing food. In one particular week about 2000 parcels of food were distributed, which is more than four times the weekly amount prior to Covid-19.

“Quite simply, we cannot do that without the generosity of people. Having farmers show their support in such a wonderful way is incredibly helpful, particularly as Christmas is fast approaching, which is the busiest time of the year. My thanks goes to them all,” Ms Robinson said.

The Mission expects to give out around 9000 Christmas food parcels and tens of thousands of gifts to families who would otherwise go without.