A young boy has saved up all his coins to give to the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
This was just a slice of the generosity seen in the Emergency Services Food Drive where more than 3800 items were donated in The Lakes area alone.
The food was donated to the foodbank during the Bay of Plenty Times’ six-week Christmas Appeal.
On November 28, the emergency services did a food drive around the city, collecting donations from The Lakes and Mount Maunganui communities for the foodbank.
Items collected in Tauranga South were donated to the Tauranga Salvation Army.
Two of the foodbank’s vans went along for the drive, staffed by volunteers including chairman Simon Beaton and trustee Sarah Burns.
Fire and Emergency NZ volunteer support officer Robert Pinkerton they were “pleasantly surprised” at the generosity.
This year, they covered The Lakes, Tauranga Avenues, Mount Maunganui, Ōmokoroa, Katikati and Maketū.
Pinkerton said the foodbank did “such a great job” feeding those in need and the emergency services were happy to help.
He thanked Neighbourhood Support, Community Patrol, Western Bay of Plenty Disctrict Council, Tauranaga City Council, Civil Defence, Tauranga Community Foodbank, Salvation Army, and the off-duty ambulance and police officers who helped out on the night.
Greerton Volunteer Firefighters acting officer in charge David McLaughlan said about nine firefighters joined in the “fun-spirited” community collection.
He said it was a “great” community event and got the kids excited and involved and it was “amazing” to see people donating as much as they were “out of the goodness of their hearts”.
Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin wished she knew who the young boy was who saved up his coins to be donated.
She said the 3800 items donated from The Lakes was a “huge” amount collected and they were grateful to Bay Venues for allowing them to use Greerton Hall for the donations to be sorted into boxes.
They were yet to count the items donated from Mount Maunganui.
This year has seen “record demand”, as the organisation spent an average of $20,012 per month on staple foods, compared to $14,758 a month the year before.
The foodbank hasn’t been able to include snack foods for families such as two-minute noodles, muesli bars, chips or crackers in the average of 33 parcels sent out each day.
Cash donations are also welcomed, as they mean the foodbank can purchase items it needs when it needs them.
Last year’s six-week appeal saw $256,471 donated - $167,758.84 in cash and $88,712 in food donations, with each item valued at $2.50. It was the highest amount raised in the appeal’s history. The second-highest was a total of $254,416, donated in 2020.
Tauranga Community Foodbank wishlist 2023
- Nappies: Size four, five, six
- Drinking chocolate and coffee
- Muesli bars
- Canned fruit
- Tinned fish
Any items are welcome, even if they’re not on the list. Cash donations are also welcome.
Cira Olivier is a social issues and breaking news reporter for NZME Bay of Plenty. She has been a journalist since 2019.