Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Christmas appeal: What really goes into a foodbank parcel?

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Anyone who has received a parcel from the Tauranga Community Foodbank in recent years will know it contains more than just the basics.

Manager Nicki Goodwin said the foodbank worked hard to ensure they were offering fresh and tasty items that helped make interesting and healthy meals.

''It's just about making it easier for someone in a really crappy situation, not just giving out some food but making it as best as we can for them.''

There were 35 different kinds of items and different recipes that went into a care parcel, "and that's just the minimum'', Ms Goodwin said.

''For a single person it might not look like a lot, but with what we put in, there are nine different meal ideas apart from the obvious toast and sandwiches.''

The volunteers make up a food parcel once they knew who it was for - how many adults, how many children.

Volunteers have laminated run sheets for the minimum of what needs to go in for how many people, but they often put in extra such as spreads or margarine when they could.

''Our volunteers are so good. They actually care. They look after our customers and encourage them to take more fruit and vegetables from reception.''

Ms Goodwin said the foodbank worked hard to ensure they had food ''staples'' such as flour, sugar and butter, but were grateful for donations which meant they could make each parcel interesting and healthy for people.

Donated food came from supermarkets, individuals, the community, businesses, and community gardens, Ms Goodwin said.

''We spend over $50,000 a year on food, the staples. That's why the Bay of Plenty Times appeal is so important. It enables us to provide those basics, and sometimes a little more as well.''

Ms Goodwin said this week an older lady who had a mass of silver beet growing at home brought in a single bag load. She said the woman did not think it would go far but Ms Goodwin knew better.

''It makes a difference even a bag of silver beet. It still goes to someone who will use it. It's the big things and all the little things as well, they all add up.''

- Bay of Plenty Times

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