Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Tauranga Community Foodbank chairman steps down

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Alan Plunkett has resigned as the chairman of the Tauranga Community Foodbank. Photo/George Novak
Alan Plunkett has resigned as the chairman of the Tauranga Community Foodbank. Photo/George Novak

Tauranga Community Foodbank chairman Alan Plunkett has resigned after almost three years at the helm.

Mr Plunkett has taken up a voluntary role as an administrator for his church. Vice-chairman Richard Harnett also resigned today after 19 years of service.

At the foodbank's AGM this afternoon, board member Sharon Hitchcock was voted in as the new chairwoman, with Philippa de Vere stepping in as vice-chairwoman.

Mr Plunkett told the Bay of Plenty Times it had been a successful few years since he took up the role in early 2014 and he was comfortable with where he was leaving the foodbank. His involvement began when he started volunteering there in 2013.

"We have such a wonderful team, both the volunteers and the board members.

"Nicki [Goodwin, foodbank manager] is the heart and soul of the place. She does a wonderful job at keeping everything going."

Mr Plunkett said a highlight of his time included the smooth shift from the organisation's Dive Cres headquarters to its new home in Brook St, Merivale.

Another highlight was watching the schools' collection challenge grow. After this year's challenge, Tauranga Boys' College, one of the foodbank's biggest supporters, put on a lunch for foodbank volunteers.

"That was a real nice plus for the volunteers."

But the biggest highlight was growing the foodbank's profile.

"We're no longer whispered about or looked down on. I really had the impression that we were looked down on before," Mr Plunkett said.

"The awareness is huge now. I've got to be happy with that."

He said the time had come to step down, but he would still be on hand to help when needed.

He was pleased with his successor and said Sharon Hitchcock was "very well versed" in what needed to be done.

"She is very matter of fact and has a good head on her shoulders."

He said Philippa de Vere was a good choice for vice-chairwoman and a "solid worker".

"We're lucky, we've got a bloody good team at the moment. I'm grateful for that."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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