A record-breaking $250,000 worth of cash and food has been raised for the local foodbank by the Tauranga community in its annual Christmas Appeal - smashing its original cash goal of $120,000.
A total of $258,416.48 was raised in cash and food donations over the six-week appeal for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
This was from $174,236.48 cash and $42,090 worth of food with each food item valued at $2, surpassing the previous year's record of $153,961.40 in cash and food donations.
The appeal ran from November 7 to December 19.
A last-minute donation of $30,000 from Synergy Technologies was a huge boost to the appeal - the highest single donation in its 10-year history.
Manager Rachel McKean said at the time the company originally planned to donate $15,000 but when it realised how close the foodbank was to its initial goal of $120,000 in cash, it doubled the donation.
Port of Tauranga also contributed $15,000 to the Christmas appeal. Chief executive Mark Cairns said last year was the 11th year the port had donated to the appeal through money that would otherwise have been put into corporate sponsorship.
He said it was great that the staff chose the foodbank again, which he said they hoped would help the service get the food to where it was needed most.
Bay of Plenty Times regional editor Scott Inglis said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of the Tauranga community.
"I'm just absolutely blown away. The foodbank provides an important service to our community and that's why we choose to support it year after year.
"After a difficult year, for them to now be able to support the people who need it most, is just fantastic.
"I want to thank each and every person and organisation who donated food, money or time to help support such a worthy charity," he said.
Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said the result of the Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal, run in partnership with Gilmours Wholesale Food and Beverage Tauriko, was "phenomenal".
"It's almost not real," she said.
"Every single person who contributed; whether it was time, food, or cash donations, it's all added up to be a huge success, and it all goes straight back to the community."
Goodwin said they were "delighted" knowing they were coming into the year with a strong budget, and improve on what they had been doing.
While the donations slowed down, many people had set up to contribute on a regular basis which was "really powerful and really important".
As well as giving them more security in being able to provide for those in need, she said they were able to include more proteins, such as mince, which were expensive.
"Because of the appeal, we're in a position to bulk buy more meat and put more in each food parcel."
Parcels previously designed to last three days, to get someone through to payday, now provided a minimum of four days' worth of food.
The demand was because of Covid-19-related job losses on top of the housing crisis, which was causing unprecedented hardship, even before the pandemic struck.
The team still provided the same-sized parcels as they had been in December, with more food in each parcel this January and February compared to the same time last year.
The foodbank is always open to cash or food donations.