The call went out, and you delivered Tauranga!
Stacks of boxes, bags and even a laundry basket or two filled the boots of Bay of Plenty Times and The Hits vehicles as part of the Fill the Boot campaign yesterday. The vehicles visited registered businesses and organisations all over the city as part of this year's Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal to raise food and funds for the Tauranga Community Foodbank – resulting in swags of goodies for people in need.
Higgins Contractors in Mount Maunganui were among the first to donate boxes filled with more than the standard tinned goods.
Higgins branch manager Mike Haden said a staff member came to him "quite concerned about underprivileged kids around the area, and wanted to do something and focus it on Christmas treats".
"So that's pretty much why the goodies are sugary, chocolatey, and sweet. It's something the kids might not normally get around Christmas."
Among the haul from the Mount Maunganui Runners and Walkers were drinks, pasta mixes, crackers, candy canes and tinned goods.
Member Dawn Picken said people knew the need was great.
"Word has got out that there's a need in the community and it is getting harder and harder for families to put food on the table," she said.
"We want to be able to help with that. Not just with beans and other tinned things but fun stuff too."
And it wasn't just food for people that was donated. Staff at Hollistic Vets included premium dog food as part of their donation to the foodbank.
Sarah Ward said the team was keen to help because "we are more than happy with where we are at in life, so why not help others in need".
The donations were not limited to the boots, either.
Mount Maunganui Golf Club 9-hole Ladies captain Penny Lee, who arrived in tandem with the Fill the Boot vehicles at the foodbank, said the group met for a Christmas lunch on Wednesday "and instead of doing Secret Santa each person brought food instead".
"I can see it being a regular thing because it went down so well."
Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said the amount of food collected would help the service get into the next year and "put some real quality food items in the parcels".
"It's teamwork. The community, whether they know it or not, are a team. Everyone might be doing it individually or through businesses but the end result is a team effort," Goodwin said.
Making it easy to give
The idea of asking people for cash or cans as part of fundraising efforts for Tauranga Community Foodbank has resulted in a huge haul for the charity service.
Yesterday, two van loads of food and a cheque for just over $3000 from the Tauranga Te Papa Rotary Club were delivered to the foodbank. The total haul was valued at $8768.
The hefty donation was the culmination of two weekends of hosting a stall at Bureta Countdown, then Bethlehem Countdowns.
President John O'Hagan said he was stunned with the result, as the club had not previously asked for cans before "but this way it made it easy for people".
"We are overwhelmed."
The club also donates to other charities throughout the year, raising $40,000 to $50,000 annually, but the foodbank was a cause close to the hearts of members, O'Hagan said.
O'Hagan said the core of the club's operation was "service above self" so helping people in the community was important.
"That is what we are about."