A staple diet of local generosity

By Amy McGillivray

Every week about 30 food parcels are given out to Tauranga families who are struggling to make ends meet.

The Tauranga Community Foodbank relies on the generosity of the community to be able to dish out boxes of food to keep them going.

Cash donations were used to buy staples such as milk powder, butter, sausages, rice, pasta, eggs and cereal. Bakeries regularly donate bread and donations of food made up the rest.

Administrator Jo Harrington said the foodbank could only provide families with the staples and a bit of ingenuity would be needed to make full meals out of a food parcel alone.

The amount of food varied depending on how many people each parcel was for.

Each day the more unusual items donated were listed on a board just inside the building and each family was able to request two items from the board, she said.

The list often included items such as flour, batter mix, icing sugar, herbs and spices and herbal teas.

Each food parcel was worth between about $40 to $50.

Foodbank chairman Mike Baker said putting together a food parcel was a fine balancing act.

"Each parcel's made to order - it's made up when the people come in for the number of people. It's supposed to, in theory, last a week but of course we can only provide the food that's donated or we purchase."

The Bay of Plenty Times Christmas appeal is all about helping the foodbank continue to support those who are just scraping by.

Newspaper staff and their friends and family collected about 450 items when they hit the streets around Cherrywood on Wednesday.

Greerton residents contributed another 400 items when staff knocked on their doors on Thursday night.

So far more than 7800 items of food and almost $30,000 in cash had been received bringing the total raised to $41,541 with one week left of the appeal.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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