Christmas food drive set for Thursday night

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Dunedin residents have given generously to the annual Christmas can appeal and organisers are hoping for the same response this year.

Emergency service vehicles will sound their sirens when the Community Can and Christmas Treats Drive hits the streets next Thursday night.

The appeal will cover the city and outlying towns as far as Waitati, Port Chalmers, Ravensbourne, and down to Portobello.

Appeal co-ordinator Nick Orbell, who works alongside Aimee Taylor, said cans, non-perishable items and Christmas treats were welcomed.

“If every household could manage to donate a small item – a can, a packet of dry food or a little treat for Christmas – this city could make an enormous difference to those of us who struggle the most.

“Please help us help the foodbanks to continue their support for families in need”.

Mr Orbell said he was pleased the appeal was becoming a tradition in the city.

The food collected would be split between the foodbanks at Presbyterian Support Otago, St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.

A Mosgiel collection, which covers Green Island, Abbotsford and Brighton, will be held on Monday night and the food will be given to the Mosgiel foodbank.

Presbyterian Support Otago’s Family Works practice manager Deb Gelling said the appeal was “hugely important” and kept the foodbank stocked until its own collection, Octacan, halfway through the year.

Dunedin residents always made “significant contributions” to the appeal. St Vincent de Paul centre and pastoral co-ordinator Sarah Strang said the cans usually lasted in the foodbank for about nine months.

“It’s really nice when the trucks bring in all the cans and all the agencies get together with all their volunteers.”

She was “really grateful” to the organisers and emergency services who helped out.

Salvation Army community ministries manager David McKenzie said the appeal was a “key time” to stock up on cans and he was thankful for the community’s generosity.

“It’s a fun night. All the people that come along and volunteer have quite a ball and the emergency services themselves are just great. “We are so appreciative of what they do.”

Collection baskets will be outside The Warehouse in South Dunedin and Maclaggan St for people who miss the appeal.