I was surprised to feel a strong sense of déjà vu as I stood in the Tauranga Community Foodbank depot in Fraser Cove yesterday.

The sight of simple banana boxes filled with staple food items - baked beans, pasta and the like - gave me flashbacks to visiting the food bank when I was younger.

I am blessed enough to be from a working-class family where we never went hungry - but a childhood friend was not so lucky.

It must have only been once or twice my 10-year-old self ended up tagging along to the old depot, then located on Dive Cres, but it is something I will not forget.

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I still remember the rows of canned foods and the stigma associated with receiving the food parcel. I also recall the queasy guilt I felt when eating meals at their house.

But as the cost of living rises, so does the number of hard-working people who simply cannot make ends meet, leading to an increase in the number of 'the working poor'.

This means more families in a constant state of financial strife because, as food bank manager Nicki Goodwin says, "you can't budget your way out of poverty".

This is why community organisations like the food bank are so vital and in turn, the reason it is important for residents to support the food bank's Christmas Appeal.

You probably know someone who is one of the thousands of people the food bank has supported during its 29 years in Tauranga.

Even giving a can of tuna or packet of pasta will help this community service help our most vulnerable during the holiday season when expenses can skyrocket.

Aside from giving what we can during the appeal, we need to continue to actively combat the stigma associated with seeking help so that people are given an empowering hand-up instead of a shameful handout.

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While it might just be a few food items here and there for you, it could prevent a child just down your street from going hungry.