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

Christmas appeal: Volunteers making the world go round

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Volunteer Chris Olsen is a storeperson for the Tauranga Community Foodbank. Photo/George Novak
Volunteer Chris Olsen is a storeperson for the Tauranga Community Foodbank. Photo/George Novak

Chris Olsen has big shoes to fill at the Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Mrs Olsen is learning the ropes as a storeperson at the foodbank because volunteer Richard Harnett retired this year after spending close to two decades helping at the organisation.

She has been at the foodbank for about two years and has taken on the storeperson job on Wednesdays.

In her two years, she has seen the transition from the foodbank's old premises on Dive Cres to its new building on Brook St near Fraser Cove.

"I've been working here about two years now and I love doing it. I love working here in the big warehouse that's so light and airy, everything is so easy to find and it's more organised."

Mrs Olsen started volunteering at the foodbank after retiring from paid work.

"I wanted to do something. The world doesn't go round without volunteers. I wanted to help.

"I had a couple of friends that were working here at the time, it was all word of mouth. It's a fun place to work, we have lots of laughs.

"Time goes quickly, we have plenty to do."

Mrs Olsen said her new volunteer role involved making sure the shelves were stocked up so the parcels could be made easily.

"There are some wonderful volunteers who help me. We've even had some students in which has been really useful for muscle power."

Mrs Olsen was pleased to see lots of fresh fruit and vegetables coming in.

"It's wonderful for families to be able to take that with them for free."

The recipe sheets the foodbank gives its clients also help them to incorporate that fresh produce into their meals.

Working at the foodbank, Mrs Olsen knew she was helping people who had fallen on hard times.

"They need to be able to know they can access the basics and with a smile."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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