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Getting food parcels in tough times has been “a saviour” for a Tauranga woman.

The single mum of two teenagers, who only wanted to be called Tia, had been referred to the Tauranga Community Foodbank by the Tauranga Budget Advisory Service three times.

The 30-year-old said she did not have any support and it was often hard to put food on the table.

Tia said she often used other ways of getting food for her family such as fishing, produce from gardens and collecting shellfish.

But when these means were not available she said she had to ask for help.

“I’ve only used the foodbank when I really, really need help.”

She said it was hard to raise her teenage children alone.

“It wasn’t so bad when they were younger, but now they eat a lot more, and it can get tough.”

Tia had used the budget advisory service for the 10 past years and said she always felt “compassion” when she asked for help.

“The foodbank and the budget advisory have got a really good system going.

“They really are a saviour in a way.”

Tauranga Foodbank manager Nicki Goodwin said the charity had a close relationship with budget advisers in the community.

“We work alongside Tauranga Budget Advice Service a great deal and have found the relationship to be hugely successful in reducing peoples’ long-term need for foodbank assistance.”

Goodwin said once three food parcels had been issued within 12 months to someone she asked that they work with a budget adviser, which was a free service.

“This means that if the situation warrants it, we can provide further support with food to improve someone’s long-term financial situation.”

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Diane Bruin said the relationship between the budget advisory service and the foodbank was extremely important.

“We can work together to make judgment calls to make sure people have genuine reasons for using the food bank.”

The two organisations had worked together for more than 25 years, and Bruin said about 40 cases would be referred between the two each week.

“If someone has a high power bill or was struggling to pay their debt, they could get a parcel to tie them over for the week.

This is the first warning, and we can work with them to give them tips on how to manage this.”

However, Bruin said the long-term use of the foodbank by her clients had reduced.

In the lead up to the festive season, she said people were seeking help earlier this year, and workshops were available to learn how to make homemade gifts, decorations and how to budget for Christmas Day.

“We don’t want anyone to miss out.”

Tips to get ahead

-Seek help early
-Get in touch with the Tauranga Budget Advisory Service for more information on the Christmas workshops on 07 578 0969
-The Tauranga Budget Advisory Service had advisers in different locations to make the service accessible for people with no transport or illness.
-The foodbank also worked with budget advisers at Papamoa Family Services, Salvation Army, St Peters House, and City Church.