"Old people have a lot of stories and people my age, they like to listen to them" – a forthright observation by the Tauranga Community Foodbank's youngest volunteer, Josh Stannard.

Especially as the foodbank's oldest volunteer, Maureen Paterson, was standing right next to him as he said it. She was nodding along with a big smile on her face.

There are 72 years separating the pair. Both help out once a week on Thursdays.

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Josh, wanting to try something new, first got involved in the foodbank little more than a year ago.

"It was a bit different so I gave it a go," said the 14-year-old, who attends Tauranga Youth Academy.

"I like the people here. It's interesting. All the people that come through, you meet all sorts of different types of people, hear all sorts of different stories."

He said it felt good to give back to the community "but it's hard work".

Maureen has been volunteering at the foodbank for nearly 26 years.

The 86-year-old said she had seen a big change in that time.

The foodbank was better run now, she said, as everything was itemised, more organised and healthier food was being distributed.

Maureen said it was also "absolutely" busier than it used to be.

"There's so many people out there that are struggling," she said.

"You get some that are very well dressed and you think, well, why are they coming in here? But they've had a problem at home and they've called on the foodbank and we're here to help them."

She said she still got a thrill out of helping people.

"When I take the parcels out, I like to listen to their stories and hear why they're coming in and some of them are very, very sad stories and then I go up and give them a big cuddle.

"I pray for them every morning when I come to work – that their circumstances will be changed."

Maureen said the generosity she saw from the people of Tauranga constantly blew her away.

"It makes me weep sometimes – the amount of stuff that a person that's got children will come in and give. You just can't help but go give them a big cuddle and thank them so much. It's very thoughtful."

And those donating to and being helped by the Tauranga Community Foodbank can look forward to Maureen's cuddles for more years to come.

"I'm going to keeping coming here until I drop," she said.