PILED high, another donated pallet is loaded up. Photos supplied

ALONGSIDE a food drive earlier this month, donations from Opotiki New World have helped stock up the community foodbank.

This year, the food drive extended to Tablelands, and drop-off donation boxes at the Tirohanga beach store and New World meant a big haul.

On top of this, New World donated an additional six pallets of food and day-to-day goods, which Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust whanau support member Nursy Pirini said could keep the bank stocked for several months.

“We shouldn’t have to replenish our food stocks for another six months,” she said.

A wide variety of goods were donated including canned and fresh foods, as well as hygiene and cleaning products.

“They’re not just food items, they’re necessities,” she said. “Things that aren’t food, but you still need to buy them with your groceries.”

Ms Perini said these items “really make a difference” in the packages the food bank distributes.

The community foodbanks base at the Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust building has been filled to brimming with goods with over 20 more boxes having to be stored off-site.

Of the items donated by New World, many were superficially damaged, like dented cans or minor tears to packaging.

While the products themselves are still usable or edible, they can not be sold due to the superficial imperfections.

All donated items are carefully checked by staff for their expiry dates and any damage to the item itself, before being sorted for distribution.

Items from the food drive were collected at the start of the month with assistance from the Opotiki police and volunteer fire brigade, which lent their vehicles for the collection.

Volunteers also turned out in force to act as runners for the donated goods.

“We just want to give a huge thanks to the whole community for all their support,” said Ms Pirini.

Last year, thanks to Opotiki New World’s donation of four pallets, the foodbank did not need to run its annual food drive.

WHAKAATU Whanaunga Trust staff check and sort the donated goods.