While it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to wrap around those either falling towards or stuck at rock bottom.
Which is exactly what the Tauranga Community Foodbank is doing.
The Bay of Plenty Times, in partnership with Gilmours Wholesale Food and Beverage Tauriko, launched its annual, six-week Christmas Appeal for the foodbank this month.
The Foodbank currently has relationships with 90 other community agencies which refer people to the Foodbank.
These include mental health services, hospital departments, addiction services, community centres, schools, budget services, social workers, counsellors, churches and more.
Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said the number of partnerships it has had been growing year-on-year, with some of the relationships spanning decades.
She said the more organisations involved in referrals meant fewer people could slip through the cracks.
Goodwin explained they also had relationships with organisations they referred Foodbank clients to, as often clients needed more support than food.
One example of the "vitally important" role of the partnerships was with a mother whose relationship had broken down.
The mother was under financial and emotional pressure and reached out for help from the Foodbank.
Goodwin said the team was able to take the burden and stress out of putting food on the table and referred the woman to other agencies, like those which offer financial support to help her repay her debt.
"She was so thankful," Goodwin said.
The local agencies supported her to get back on track.
"We haven't seen her since."
The network of support has become increasingly robust. It was especially evident when the pandemic hit, and systems were in place to support the flood of people needing help.
"That was one of the positives ... We knew who was there, what they did."
Need a referral?
Those who want to personally contact the Foodbank can find the details on how to start the process online.
To arrange a referral to the Foodbank contact
• Hillier Centre, Mount Maunganui
• Papamoa Family Services
• Welcome Bay Community Centre
• Merivale Community Centre
• Salvation Army
• St Vincent de Paul's Support Centre