Tauranga's foodbank is running out of food as an overwhelming number of struggling residents are turning to them for help.
Food flew off the shelves at the Tauranga Community Foodbank after a massive Christmas Appeal for the foodbank which brought in 29,455 items of food and $70,220 in cash donations.
In January and February of this year there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of food parcels going out compared to the same two months last year.
In the year to date, the foodbank has sent out 1339 parcels, helping 4059 people.
"It's just the sheer number of people in need out in Tauranga. The need for food parcels just has not tapered off like it usually does," foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said.
"Normally the Christmas supplies would see us through until May or June and then we do a schools appeal but we've run out early.
"The foodbank is secure, we're not at risk of not being able to continue but we are having to spend more money to buy food items."
The foodbank has given out 8733 eggs, 1.5 tonnes of potatoes, 5822 sausages and 100kg of milk powder.
Ms Goodwin said the foodbank was completely out of tinned soup, tinned fish, pasta sauce - items that "really made a difference to a food parcel".
Last month the Greerton Lions donated $600 worth of canned soup, which was already gone.
"The interesting thing is that the need is coming from right across the community - elderly, retired, people in fulltime employment.
"Whatever is happening out there is affecting all different parts of society," Ms Goodwin said.
High rental costs chewed up large chunks of household budgets, there was limited affordable housing and wages were not very high, Ms Goodwin said.
It's just the sheer number of people in need out in Tauranga. The need for food parcels just has not tapered off like it usually does.
The foodbank was in dire need of staple items like creamed corn, tinned spaghetti, tinned fruit, and tinned tomatoes.
"We are so hugely supported by the community and we are so grateful."
Tauranga Community Foodbank chairwoman Sharon Hitchcock said it was the first time in a long time the foodbank was running out of food so soon after Christmas.
"I hope it doesn't become a pattern but with our growing population and issues it could."
Diane Bruin of Tauranga Budget Advisory Services said demand was high and the service was having to refer people to the foodbank.
She said rent costs were a big problem and wage earners were struggling as much as anyone else.
How you can help
- Bring donations of non-perishable food or cash to the
Bay of Plenty Times
office at 405 Cameron Rd between 8.30am and 5pm or to the Tauranga Community Foodbank at Unit G, 4 Brook St by Fraser Cove.