Don't be afraid to ask for help.

That's what they were there for, said Tauranga Community Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin.

"We understand how hard it is to reach out for help and for some, they may feel there is a stigma attached.

"Try our service, there is no stigma, and we will make sure by the time that person leaves they will feel that way too."

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Too often, Tauranga Community Foodbank sees people who have used all their resources before they come to the foodbank — putting themselves in hardship using credit cards or borrowing money.

Goodwin said people often only needed their help for a week or two — especially if there is a surprise bill such as a car breakdown, a dentist appointment etc — and this is what they are there for.

"We were put here by the community 27 years ago — for this need — so don't ever be afraid to ask for help."

The Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal was launched this month. It is an annual six-week appeal to collect food and money for the cause.

Goodwin said while foodbank noticed a rise in single people using their service "but we have a huge percentage of people we see who are wage earners".

The Government has extra support in place for people with families but often it is very hard for workers on their own, paying rent and bills.

"Again, a lot of people use up every single resource they have — they hit their credit card — when there is help available."

The service has two levels of help — emergency help (three times a year) and connecting people with budget services. The foodbank could be helping families for two weeks or two months, Goodwin said.