Foodbank tally surpasses wildest dreams

By Ellen Irvine

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The Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal has raised more than $15,000 for Tauranga Community Foodbank in just three weeks.

And with another three weeks of the campaign to go until Christmas, foodbank chairman Mike Baker is overwhelmed at the community response.

"It's been beyond our wildest expectations," he said.

"I appreciate the fact there's an awful lot of people, businesses and individuals, that are struggling out there, but the generosity of the community still comes to the fore.

"They are still prepared to provide us with items or give us cash."

Since the launch of the appeal three weeks ago, the Western Bay community has donated $10,570.27 in cash to the foodbank and 5164 items of food - worth a total of $15,734.27. Each food item is being counted as $1.

This week, the total was hugely boosted by a $6000 donation by the Port of Tauranga.

Bay of Plenty Times editor Scott Inglis said the campaign had got off to a fantastic start and hoped the donations would continue as the Christmas spirit blossomed this month.

"The people of Tauranga have really got behind this cause and clearly see the need in the community for the foodbank," he said.

"Individuals, businesses and schools have all been incredibly generous."

Mr Baker said the foodbank was bracing itself for an increase of needy families over the Christmas period.

The money and food items raised in the campaign would be a huge help in feeding them, he said. "What the appeal has done for us is set us up for the first half of 2012 and we have still got another three weeks to go."

In addition to the Port of Tauranga, businesses that have donated to the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal include Young Read Woudberg, Fitco and Cooney Lees Morgan.

The region's schools have also got behind the cause.

So far, schools that have committed to the appeal are St Mary's Catholic School, Papamoa Primary School, Otumoetai Intermediate, Greenpark School, Tauranga Girls' College, Bellevue School and Otumoetai College. Tauranga Boys' College runs its own foodbank appeal every August.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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