Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal: Foodbank needs fresh produce

Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal: Foodbank needs fresh produce

Volunteers at the Tauranga Community Foodbank are calling for more donations of fresh fruit and vegetables for their food parcels.

General manager Nicki Goodwin said fresh fruit and vegetables were too expensive for the Foodbank to afford, so its supply was completely reliant on donations.

“We are always running out of fresh produce.”

Goodwin said a volunteer was assigned to look after fruit and vegetables each day and it was David Johnston’s turn yesterday.

Johnston has been volunteering at the Foodbank since the end of the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 after deciding he wanted to do something useful with his spare time.

He was in charge of putting together the bags of mixed produce, both small and large.

Johnston said providing fresh produce to the Foodbank’s clients not only gave them a healthy option but helped people learn healthy food habits.

“It’s nice for a family to learn to eat fresh food, rather than everything out of tins.

“People appreciate it more. Hopefully, they even start growing it.”

The Foodbank’s warehouse manager Jordy Gastmeier said it made sure everything it provided was good quality.

“We only hand out stuff that we’d eat ourselves.”

Gastmeier said parents who come to the Foodbank were often excited to be able to put fruit in their children’s school lunches.

But she said the Foodbank could always use donations, particularly of vegetables, with produce like broccoli and carrots in high demand.

Some donations of fruit and vegetables come from local organic gardeners but most were provided by organisations like food rescue service Good Neighbour, which delivered between eight to 15 boxes a day, or 980kgs a week.

Good Neighbour donated more than 2000kgs of produce in September this year alone.

Simone Gibson, general manager of Good Neighbour, said having organisations like the Foodbank onboard was a great way to help support the community.

“It’s really important to be able to support your community. You don’t know what’s happening next door – you don’t know what’s happening on your street.

“It’s food that’s still good enough to eat. It can feed our community, and the need in our community is huge.”

Gibson said business owners can contact Good Neighbour to pick up excess food and distribute it to community organisations in need.

Goodwin said Good Neighbour’s contribution to the Foodbank was invaluable.

“We just wouldn’t have it (the produce). We wouldn’t have been able to purchase it.

“It’s a great collaboration.”

Bay of Plenty Times Christmas Appeal: Foodbank needs fresh produce

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