The past 29 years have seen the launch of the internet as we know it, 9/11 and the Global Financial Crisis.

These years have also seen Tauranga Community Foodbank volunteer Robbie McGruer steadily turn up to do his bit for Tauranga's most vulnerable.

McGruer, with his wide grin and sparkling eyes, has devoted hundreds of volunteer hours to the foodbank during those 29 years - which is longer than my 25-year-old self has been alive.

The foodbank was located on Dive Cresent when he first started and the location of the depot is not the only thing that has changed in his time.


He says there has been a jump in the number of food parcels the food bank gives out since he started.

He works in a kiwifruit packhouse during the picking and packing season but for the rest of the year you are guaranteed to find him working busily at the foodbank.

He has been there for each of the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal, now in partnership with Gilmours Wholesale Food and Beverage Tauriko.

When asked why he keeps going, he says he likes the friends he has made. Aside from that, he is dedicated to his work at the foodbank.

"The more food that comes in, the more food that goes out," he says, matter-of-factly.

"Every day is a good day here."

Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin has not a bad word to say about McGruer.

"He works so hard and we really rely on him. He just goes all day," she says.


Robbie is a jack-of-all-trades and helps out with everything from sorting vegetables to parking, she says.

Aside from his strong work ethic, he is an upbeat and humorous presence.

"He is a cracker and we always have lots of laughs."