‘Tis the season to give
More than 15,000 people, including 9000 children, sought help from the Tauranga Community Foodbank last year.
The numbers equate to more than the population of Katikati, Te Puna and Te Puke combined — and are expected to increase this year as Christmas approaches.
Today, the launches its Christmas Appeal to collect for the foodbank, ahead of what is its busiest time of the year.
Tauranga Community Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said: “Our shelves are okay at the moment, but that changes in a heartbeat.”
Goodwin said demand doubled, if not tripled, at Christmas. But often, so did people’s generosity. Last year’s
Christmas Appeal raised $128,700 worth of donations. On one particular day $18,488 was collected.
“In December we are really busy but that flows through right to March. What happens is a lot of people no longer have the support they have through schools such as school breakfasts and lunches, or some school staff won’t have that wage coming in over the holidays.”
For many, the foodbank was their answer. However, it was a year-long service only made possible through the generosity of businesses, donors and volunteers.
In the past year, the foodbank helped an average of 296 people a week and its grocery bill for 2017 was $70,000 — “and that was for staple items”.
The bill did not include desirables such as baking supplies or personal care items, which are sometimes covered by specific donations, Goodwin said.
It also did not include the recent $13,000 bill for necessary insulation of the foodbank building, nor the regular rent payments.
“It’s a hard, hard thing, to ask