Trolleys to be piled high for those in need this Christmas

Countdown and The Salvation Army team up for Christmas Food Rescue Appeal

  • 17,000 families request Salvation Army food assistance over Christmas
  • 183 shopping trolleys filled with groceries totalling $90,000, donated by Countdown to kick-start donations
  • Shoppers encouraged to donate goods on top of this in-store and online
  • Basic items like rice, sugar, pasta and Christmas treats most-needed

28 November 2016: Countdown and The Salvation Army have teamed up again to make Christmas a little brighter for Kiwi families in need, by providing vital food assistance as part of the Christmas Food Rescue Appeal.

Countdown is encouraging shoppers to make a food donation in-store in specially marked Christmas Food Rescue trolleys, or online. Last year more than 750 trolleys full of customer donations were handed over to The Salvation Army before Christmas.

In addition, all 183 Countdown stores each donate $500 of groceries to their local Salvation Army centre, contributing more than $90,000 of groceries to The Salvation Army’s foodbanks nationally.

This year people can also donate online at New Zealand’s first online foodbank, The Foodbank Project One year on from launching, more than 50,000 grocery items have been donated via the site and distribution has expanded from an Auckland trial to eight hubs around New Zealand.

The Salvation Army’s National Secretary for Social Services, Major Pamela Waugh, says around 17,000 families are expected to ask for food assistance by the end of the Christmas season in December. She says a range of factors including the dairy downturn, debt levels, the rising cost of housing, and now the recent earthquakes contribute to Kiwis being in financial difficulty, particularly during the Christmas period.

“Christmas is an incredibly tough time for those families and individuals struggling to make ends meet, let alone celebrate. We’re seeing rising demand in rural areas around Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Waikato, partly as a result of the downturn in the rural economy. We’re also seeing increased demand among working people in areas such as Auckland’s North Shore and Hibiscus Coast. Demand in Christchurch is also rising again after a period of stability.

“Thousands of people who are only just getting by come to us for assistance simply to feed their families at Christmas. A hamper with pantry staples, meat, fruit and some festive treats not only helps these families survive, but also helps them to celebrate Christmas and hopefully get some joy from the festive season,” she says.

James Walker, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, says the Christmas Food Rescue Appeal is a way for Countdown’s 183 supermarkets to help people in their local communities who are doing it tough.

“Every person should be able to celebrate Christmas. Our Countdown stores are a big part of local communities around the country and we’re proud to play a role in making Christmas a reality for many families,” he says.

“Every little bit makes a huge difference collectively, which is why we’re asking New Zealanders who can, to add a little extra to their grocery shopping and donate it into the specially-marked trolleys at their local Countdown, or donate online at The Foodbank Project,” says James Walker.

This year trolleys will play a bigger role in the Christmas Food Rescue Appeal than simply holding donated groceries.

Countdown is sponsoring The New Zealand Dance Company’s performance of Trolleys – a creative street dance where professional dancers with trolleys spin, glide and slide in a highly physical, outdoor performance – one of many free performances in Auckland Live’s Summer in the Square, a three–month long summer party in Aotea Square.

The free Trolleys performances will be held in Aotea Square at 2pm on Friday 2 December and twice daily at 12pm and 2pm from Tuesday 13 to Friday 16 December. The performances are free, with visitors encouraged to donate a food item into specially marked Christmas Food Rescue trolleys. A special performance for shoppers will also be held at Countdown Richmond Road in Grey Lynn at 12pm on Monday 12 December. 

Most-needed food items for the Christmas Food Rescue Appeal:

  • Baked beans
  • Tinned spaghetti
  • Long life milk
  • Dry pasta
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tinned tuna
  • Christmas treats

The Countdown Christmas Food Rescue Appeal is part of Countdown’s Food Rescue programme that donates around $3.5 million in food each year to food bank partners including The Salvation Army, and a further $1.2 million of food to farmers for their animals.


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