Covid and the rising cost of living is pushing people to skimp on heating this winter and rugging up instead, Women’s Centre Rodney counsellor Bridget Farmiloe says.
The centre provides support for women and families from Puhoi to Te Hana, and each year they run a Winter Warmer Appeal to provide new and good quality blankets, duvets, pyjamas and hot water bottles.
This year they are seeing more families struggling with rising prices and cutting back on power to keep food on the table.
The centre’s main aim is to provide every child in each home with new warm pyjamas and a hot water bottle, Bridget says, with new or excellent condition blankets and duvets a bonus.
In 2019, they helped 98 families, sending out 200 sets of pyjamas and 430 blankets.
Covid restrictions saw those numbers plummet as pick-ups and drop-offs restricted contact, but they are expecting numbers to be high this winter.
While the blanket collections have come to an end, Bridget says new warm pyjamas, especially for older children and teenagers, are still welcome. All donations will need to be in by the end of June.
Donations can be dropped off at 10 Morpeth Street, Warkworth, between 9.30am and 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday; or left at Harcourts Real Estate, 21 Queen Street, Warkworth.
However, it’s not just low-income families that are struggling.
Warkworth Christian Food Link coordinator Michelle Saleupolu says the ramifications of Covid are also being felt in middle income families. This includes some contractors who have been unable to work through lockdowns and restrictions, who are also struggling to make ends meet.
Before Covid arrived on the scene, Food Link was averaging around 10 food parcels a week. That has risen to around 24 a week, although they have hit more than 30 at times recently.
Every year, they see a spike in demand in June, July and August, as families start to pay their power bills.
Food for the parcels comes from Food Rescue groups run by Warkworth Lions and Rotary clubs.