"This is the busiest two hours I have ever experienced in the past four years," Tauranga Community Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said yesterday before midday.

Between 9.30am and 11.30am, 47 food parcels were approved and made.

"I don't know whether to be excited or scared by how busy things are at the foodbank this year," Goodwin said.

Luckily, an unprecendented amount of food and groceries continue to be donated in the lead-up to Christmas.


A wall at the foodbank that used to be devoid of any food supplies is now full of boxes.

After another strong day of donations, the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal total is sitting at $115,390.10 raised.

So far there have been 27,993 food items (valued at $2 each) and $59,404.10 cash donated.

That is about 7000 more donated food items than at the same time last year, and 2016 was the most successful appeal yet.

Goodwin said the quality and type of food being donated had also improved.

"It's exciting that we are here to provide a much-needed service for the community and feel so supported by the donations we receive, but scary to see the need for our services grow so much with no sign of slowing down.

"I feel that charities are really propping up our Tauranga community and it would be dreadful to see them not able to cope with growing demand."

Goodwin said it was an important time for all charities to work together to ensure they were all doing what they do best and sharing resources when needed.


"Every day I do wonder what we would do without the amazing volunteers we have in Tauranga. These people choose to give their valuable time for free and charities couldn't possibly exist without them."

The foodbank has had to double the number of volunteers each day compared with three years ago, she said, "so that we can continue to operate".

"We have increased staff hours to cope with the increased need and luckily have a very talented board of trustees who are always looking ahead and planning for the future."

Goodwin said the foodbank managed to cope with the extraordinary rush yesterday thanks to "such amazing team work" by the volunteers.

"And also our customers were happy to give us time to prepare the food parcels and even come back later to give us time to catch up a bit. Not one complaint from anyone."

By 2pm, 67 food parcels had been approved and made.