The Tauranga Community Foodbank has been given an astonishing surprise - and a huge boost - just a few weeks out from Christmas.

"OMG – We just had a visitor here giving us a $10,000 donation," the excited email from foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said.

Equally stunned, the Bay of Plenty Times quickly asked for more details.

Goodwin said the donation came from a local company which has supported the foodbank in the past, but this donation was for a much larger amount.

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"I was completely gobsmacked to receive such a generous donation on Friday," she said.

"I'm pretty sure my mouth was wide open when I read the amount of zeros on the cheque."

However, the company's identity will remain a secret.

"They advised me that they felt they didn't need any public feedback regarding the donation and would rather it remained confidential," Goodwin said.

The $10,000 surprise takes the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal total to $58,802.60.

A further boost is expected tomorrow thanks to Fill the Bus.

The Bay of Plenty Times and The Hits radio station will spend Tuesday driving around the city in a Bayhopper bus collecting food and grocery donations from businesses and members of the public.

You can follow Fill the Bus live on the day at www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz and on Facebook and Twitter.

Radio station host Will Johnston will be on board covering the event for The Hits and there is a $500 food and beverage voucher from CBK Craft Bar and Kitchen to award.

One of the many stops on the Fill the Bus route tomorrow will be at the May St Scout Hall in Mount Maunganui.

A sizeable collection of donations will be waiting there thanks to the Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers club.

President of the club, Victoria Wicks-Brown, said they knew a lot of members would be keen to contribute to the cause.

"And as we meet twice a week we thought we could be a convenient drop-off point for people – they are coming to the club anyway – so it made it straightforward to bring items for the foodbank challenge."

Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers club members Paula Wilson (left), Victoria Wicks-Brown, Donna Kirkpatrick, Vanessa McShane, Vicki Long, Graham Lawler and Dawn Picken. Photo / George Novak
Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers club members Paula Wilson (left), Victoria Wicks-Brown, Donna Kirkpatrick, Vanessa McShane, Vicki Long, Graham Lawler and Dawn Picken. Photo / George Novak

Wicks-Brown said so far the club had collected about 600 items and was still going.

"It's always a bit of a scrum on club days with runners and walkers in all directions. We have over 250 members and everyone seemed to have something in their hands for the foodbank boxes," she said.

"For us, it was a no-brainer to get involved with the challenge – this is our home, this is our community. No one should be going short in the Bay of Plenty on any given day but particularly no one should be going short at Christmas time. So happy to be part of this huge community-wide effort."


Fill the Bus tomorrow

• Has your workplace been collecting donations for the foodbank? Send an email to scott.yeoman@bayofplentytimes.co.nz to be added to the Fill the Bus route.

• The final bus route and schedule will be published in tomorrow's Bay of Plenty Times and will include all stops so members of the public can also drop off donations.