Call out to help those in need over festive season

By Genevieve Helliwell

The Christmas spirit is blooming at the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, with staff bringing in food for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.

The chamber is supporting the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal to raise funds for the foodbank and help those who are in desperate need this festive season. The business development organisation is spearheading the efforts of businesses and challenging other companies to get involved.

"There are people out there who will not be having as good a Christmas as some of us so a small donation could make a huge change for these people," said Anne Pankhurst, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce operations events and training manager.

"The foodbank is a very worthy charity and it doesn't take much to help out. If you get everyone to bring two or three things, a cardboard box will soon be full. It's a very simple thing to do."

Ms Pankhurst encouraged businesses to have a cardboard box at the front desk or in a combined office space so everyone in the team could get involved.

"That way it's not left to one person and everyone can engage in it."

The Bay of Plenty Times launched its Christmas Appeal 2012 on Saturday and, in the next six weeks, will be seeking donations of food items and cash so the foodbank can continue its charity work during the festive season and into next year.

Last year's appeal resulted in more than $53,000 worth of food and cash being donated to the foodbank after individuals, families, businesses, community groups and schools gave generously. Street collections were also held.

Last year businesses also held bring-a-can days and Tauranga law firm Cooney Lees Morgan donated a van load of spaghetti, baked beans and Weet-Bix.

Partner Owen Cooney said the law firm would support the appeal again this year. "It's a good concept and such a simple thing to do. You know it's going to the right people, it ticks all the boxes for us and we're happy to support them again." Foodbank chairman Mike Baker said 751 items had been donated since the campaign began on Saturday. He was overwhelmed with the community's fast response and generosity.

As well as businesses, the Bay of Plenty Times is also asking schools to support the Christmas appeal by holding their own can collections. If your firm or school is planning a collection, please contact the Bay of Plenty Times so we can let the community know about your good work.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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