Christmas cheer has been delivered by van instead of a reindeer sleigh as nine businesses band together to help people in need.
The six-week Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal for the Tauranga Community Foodbank has entered its fourth week.
The businesses in the ANZ Building in Cameron Rd collective gave $7250 in cash and food donations to the foodbank.
Some 1125 items were donated — each valued at an estimated $2 — from the businesses, along with a $5000 cash boost from law firm Cooney Lees Morgans.
For about 16 years, Cooney Lees Morgan has been donating to the foodbank. When the business moved to Cameron Rd, it invited other businesses to join in and the collection has grown from there.
This year, nine businesses from the ANZ building are involved: Bayleys Real Estate Tauranga, Elizabeth Café, Aurecon, Key Research, ANZ, KPMG, Baker Tilly Staples Rodway, Lifetime, and Cooney Lees Morgan.
Cooney Lees Morgan marketing administrator Kay George said it was especially important this year, as it was last year, because "many people are doing it a lot harder".
She said the drive was their way of doing something seemingly small to help those in need.
"We've done it for so long, it's just ingrained," she said. There were no plans to change their tradition.
George said there was a range of items donated, from treats to food essentials, but they had put a call out for nappies, toiletries and feminine products because they were needed but expensive.
"There's a definite need in the community and it's not getting any less."
She said Christmas was about giving back and it didn't need to be a grand gesture.
"Some people actually want to give or help but don't know how to, so this makes it easier for them to help."
Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said the ongoing support from the businesses in the ANZ building was delightful and always helpful.
At the halfway mark, the appeal totalled $40,408.44 in cash and donations. This was $34,808.44 in cash donations and 2800 item donations each valued at $2.
Goodwin said the cash has been on par with the year before, but the donations were down, which she said had been expected this year.
"It's absolutely Covid."
She said there were many groups that were not meeting and doing their normal Christmas get-togethers where they would donate, and many people were affected by the pandemic.
"And that's totally understandable."
She said they had been "really busy" and sending out three filled vans with parcels for people.
Goodwin said this was linked to Covid with direct requests from the Bay of Plenty District Health Board and other agencies for people who are self-isolating either with Covid or waiting results.