One of Tauranga's industrial heavyweights has negotiated an important deal for the city - but it's not what you might think.

The Port of Tauranga has gifted $10,000 to the Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Chief executive Mark Cairns said it was the highest amount the port had offered in eight years of regular donations to the service.

"We felt this year, it was needed."

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Cairns visited the Brook St service to hand over the donation yesterday afternoon. He said he hoped the money would allow the foodbank the flexibility to spend money on staples and other necessities.

"It is a nicer part of the [business] day, to do that. But we are a large business and a large employer in the Bay. It's important we contribute what we can to the community."

The pre-Christmas donation comes eight years after Silver Fern Farms in Te Aroha burned down, an event that spurred the Port's Christmas gifting tradition.

Cairns said as Silver Fern Farms was a large employer in a small town, the Port of Tauranga team decided to use the $10,000 they would normally spend on corporate Christmas gifts and donate it to the meatworks and their team that year.

"We wrote to our customers and explained to them, we got overwhelmingly good feedback."

Ever since, the port has donated $10,000 to local charities each Christmas - usually $6000 to the foodbank and $4000 on another charity nominated by staff.

"We decided to increase it to $10,000 this year," Cairns said.

"There have certainly been a lot of stories on food poverty and with the times I've been down there, we can see the people who use it. Every dollar that gets donated gets spent where it's needed.

"They do such a good job there."

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The port was also donating $2500 to the Child Cancer Foundation.

Foodbank chairman Larry Bilodeau said the donation was heart-warming.

"We are just blown away by the magnitude of the donation and the generosity of the staff at the port which helped select where the port's money goes."

Bilodeau said the donation would make a great difference and would help up to 6000 people.

"That's a large donation. We are most grateful for it."

Bilodeau said the $10,000 was the biggest single donation this year and of equal value to other significant donations from previous years.