Mount Mainstreet and TrustPower are getting in behind the Bay of Plenty Times 2012 Christmas Appeal by asking next week's Santa Parade-goers to bring along at least one item for the Tauranga Community Foodbank.
The free Christmas Festival and Santa Parade, sponsored by Mainstreet and TrustPower, is being held at Downtown the Mount next Saturday.
Mount Mainstreet manager Leanne Brown said after reading about the appeal, she had a "light-bulb moment".
"With between 25,000 to 30,000 people attending the festival, I thought it would be great opportunity for TrustPower and Mount Mainstreet to also get in behind the appeal.
"We are asking parade spectators, participants and retailers to bring along a non-perishable item to add to the foodbank's resources."
Ms Brown said if everyone just brought along one item it would make a huge difference.
"I'm well aware that not everyone attending the festival will be well off enough to donate an item, and some may well be a client of the foodbank, but for those who can it would be a great thing to do.
"Whether it's a packet of pasta, noodles or rice, a can of fruit or veges, biscuits, some cereal, cat food, some toilet paper or even a packet of toothpaste, every item will count in brightening up someone's day at this very festive but financially stressful time of year."
Ms Brown said she hoped people would pop a few extra items in their trolley or grab something from the pantry before the parade.
"Just imagine what we can achieve if everyone who can brings along just one item. There is nothing nicer than feeling you are making a positive difference to other people's lives."
She said the items would be collected by marked vehicles before and after the parade, and also by Bethlehem Buses operating the free bus shuttles, or people can drop off items at another collection station in the Phoenix carpark.
Tauranga Community Foodbank chairman Mike Baker said he was absolutely rapt with the response from Mainstreet and TrustPower, and other businesses which have also indicated they are planning on doing something to support the foodbank.
"The way the community has come out in support of the foodbank this year is absolutely amazing and outstanding. It's really quite humbling and moving, and on behalf of myself, the other trustees and our volunteers we want to say a huge thank you."
"Even if 10 items are donated at the Santa parade next week, that's 10 more items than we had before, and people donating even one item makes a difference. A whole lot of ones creates a huge mass," he said.
Mr Baker said since the launch of the Bay of Plenty Times 2012 Christmas Appeal nearly two weeks ago, 1280 food items and $1570 cash had been donated.