Timely cause for student volunteers

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Can do attitude . . . Cumberland College students (from left) Emily Peers (19), Bethany Coates (19), Kane Cocker (18) and Nicola Campbell (18) volunteer their time to sort cans in the Octagon for Octacan last week. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

University of Otago students did their bit during volunteer week by helping out during Octacan.

Cumberland College residents Emily Peers, Bethany Coates, Kane Cocker and Nicola Campbell spent time last week in the Octagon with Presbyterian Support Otago staff and other volunteers.

The students had finished their exams and were on university holidays.

Miss Campbell said they decided to lend a helping hand to make the most of the spare time they had.

Miss Peers said it was “better than spending the day not really contributing”.

“It’s a good cause.”

As of Wednesday, more than 18,500 cans and $5015 was given during the Octacan appeal and the days following. The cans are given to the Family Works food bank.

Presbyterian Support Otago communications and marketing manager Warren Rosser said staff were “blown away” by the donations.

Since PSO started running the appeal 10 years ago, about 123,000 cans and food items had been collected.

More dry food had been given at this year’s appeal, which was helpful when making food parcels, he said.

“A food parcel is more than just cans.

“It means that . . . we can make food parcels up that are really versatile.”

Dunedin businesses and schools dropped off hundreds of cans, a woman gave a cheque, and two children saved up their pocket money to buy items to give, he said.

Baked beans and spaghetti were the most common cans received and there was an increase in tear-top cans and single meals.

Mr Rosser said he had noticed more people were donating food throughout the year and it was great to see the community did not forget about the cause after the Octacan appeal.