‘Tis the sea­son to give

Bay of Plenty Times - - Front Page - Kiri Gille­spie Bay of Plenty Times Bay of Plenty Times

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

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