Foodbank volunteer Gill Hosie was shattered when she came back from holiday to see the mountainous piles of food at the foodbank gone.

"We had huge quantities of food items from the Christmas Appeal and I came back a few months later and the pallets were all empty," she said.

Ms Hosie began volunteering at the foodbank 18 months ago because she had the time and wanted to do something in the community.

Working one day a week Ms Hosie has seen it all.

Advertisement

"The genuine need of people is astounding and they are so grateful - I have received many a hug and many tears shed."

Ms Hosie said on the surface Tauranga appeared to be an affluent society but underneath there was massive and overwhelming need.

She said services to help people in troubled times needed to be more publicised - it needed to be made more clear that help was available.

"There are so many support services in Tauranga, like budget advice, but they can be hard to find. We need to get people get to them as early as possible for guidance."

On her volunteer days at the foodbank Ms Hosie helped make food parcels for clients.

Yesterday she brought in her 9-year-old granddaughter Zoe Lumsden.

"It's just a community help day for her. It was a surprise to Zoe to know people don't have a pantry full of food that you can just take from when you get hungry."

While Ms Hosie and Zoe were speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend at the foodbank, there was a hustle of activity around them.

Advertisement

A man who regularly donated coffee, bacon, chicken and pork came in with 40kg of fish he had caught on Thursday.

Hefting the slabs of mako and lemon fish on to the counter he began filleting it and cutting it into chunks.

Manager Nicki Goodwin said the man and his wife breezed in at least every fortnight to drop off bags of fresh food, then breezed out - wanting no special attention, just wanting to help out.

"The volunteers get very excited about fresh meat that comes in to go into food parcels that day. It's such a treat, we can't afford any other than sausages," she said.

Papamoa Pak'nSave dropped off 1728 cans of chopped tomatoes in tomato juice.

"That is a year's supply of tomatoes, what a wonderful surprise," Ms Goodwin said.

Want to 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.