Generous helping for Foodbank

By Ellen Irvine

Christmas is the time for giving but the backbone of Tauranga Community Foodbank is businesses that donate all year round.

The Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal has so far raised more than $21,000 for the foodbank, with many individuals, businesses and schools digging deep to raise cash and collect food items.

But behind the scenes, there are many businesses, groups and individuals who quietly donate food and money all through the year.

"Without the ongoing support of our regular contributors of food we would not be able to continue to operate as we would run out of resources," foodbank chairman Mike Baker said.

"We really do appreciate their ongoing contributions to the foodbank, as without them we would not be in the position to be able to assist the most vulnerable members of Tauranga."

One business which regularly donates is Gourmet Foods Ltd, which gives frozen pies almost every week.

General manager Bryce Cole said the pies were considered seconds because of their appearance but there was nothing wrong with them.

"They're not the flashest looking pies, therefore they are not easily wholesaled.

"We think [foodbank] a good cause. Basically we could throw them out but why would we want to do that when someone could use them?

"It's helping the community, it's helping the people, and at the same time it's solving a problem of wastage."

Mr Baker said the frozen pies donated were used in every food parcel.

Shayne Eaton, owner operator of BP2go Maungatapu, Delta and Summit, said the business had made a conscious decision to save bread for the foodbank.

"It's our way of giving something back to the community."

Bakels Edible Oils (NZ) Ltd, which is based at Mount Maunganui, regularly gives products such as margarine spreads.

"The foodbank is a good community organisation helping people that are in need. As a company we have a philosophy of helping our local communities," national sales manager Dave Rudd said.

"We feel that the way the world is today there are people that need a bit of assistance. For us it's not a huge cost to provide a bit of support."

Other businesses which regularly donate to the foodbank are Mount Maunganui New World, and Countdown and Woolworths supermarkets.

Gilmours on Cameron Rd donates food such as bacon, sausages and cheese every week.

Bread, scones, muffins and buns are provided by businesses including Downtown Hot Bread Shop Mount Maunganui, Quality Bakers and Brumby's Bakery.

Cottage Cafe & Tea Gardens provides frozen cakes, scones and muffins once a month, and Melba Foods in Tauriko also provides cakes.

The foodbank also get a helping hand from businesses which it buys from.

Mr Baker said the foodbank bought sausages from Tauranga Meat Packers, but the business provided an "excellent deal", and also broke down large items such as ham legs into smaller portions, and shrink wrapped products, at no cost to the foodbank.

Other businesses provide services - Export Cold Storage provides freezer space for surplus perishable food which can't be stored in the foodbank freezers.

Apart from businesses, the foodbank relies on the generosity of individuals.

"There are many people who drop food, and even things such as supermarket bags and egg cartons into the foodbank, or make regular financial contributions."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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