Larry Bilodeau is used to overseeing the large boardrooms of big business but these days, he's focusing on a boardroom of an entirely different scale.

In fact, it's a small six-seater in the corner of the office at the Tauranga Community Foodbank.

The former Ballance chief executive has been appointed as the foodbank's new board chairman. His appointment is one of three to the board offering new blood to the charity service.

Bilodeau will be joined by new members Lyn Voyde and Nikki Findlay. They add to existing members Philippa de Vere, Sue van Os and Laura Mueller.


"I guess I signed up because I feel that the foodbank is such a good cause to be part of," Bilodeau said.

"We really think Christmas is a big deal and celebrate it with friends and family and eat and drink more than we should. And some families out there aren't able to eat enough, let along more than they should. That has always bothered me.

"There are so many people in need. I'm happy to participate in the foodbank. We want to continue to support its efforts. They have such a great staff down there, with Nicki and Brendon and all of the volunteers."

Bilodeau also paid tribute to efforts of former board members.

Bilodeau was chief executive of Ballance for 14 years before retiring in 2014. He arrived from Canada about 1997 and moved to New Plymouth to work in the oil and gas industry before moving to Tauranga, and discovering the city's golf courses.

"I love my golf courses. I also like fishing, hunting, shooting, tramping, exercising and staying fit. Outdoor activities probably sum it up pretty well."

Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club member and former accountant Lyn Voyde said she had already been involved with the foodbank as a volunteer and helping to fundraise for the service through the club. Stepping up to be the foodbank's new treasurer "made sense".

Tauranga Community Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said it was an exciting time with the new blood on the board, she described as "amazing people".

"We are just so lucky with the calibre of the people who put themselves forward," she said.

"I was sad to see Sharon [Hitchcock], our former chairperson leave. She has done a lot but I'm also excited to work with Larry and the team. I think he'll be a real asset."

Goodwin said having such interest from such sectors of the community was reassuring.

How to apply for a food parcel?

You will need to visit one of the Tauranga Community Foodbank's approved referral agencies to obtain a "food parcel referral". Just take along some form of ID and they will be able to get things sorted for you. They will give the foodbank a call so that they know you will be visiting for some help. That way the team at the foodbank can have everything ready when you arrive.