Christmas collection for foodbanks

Before Santa calls, emergency service personnel and an army of volunteers will be visiting Dunedin and Mosgiel homes in the spirit of Christmas.

The annual Community Can Drive and Christmas Treats Appeal will this year be held on Thursday, encompassing the wider Dunedin area including Waitati, Port Chalmers and Portobello.

A similar food drive will be held in Mosgiel today from 6pm.

Those involved in the Dunedin effort will collect any canned, packaged and non-perishable food left at letterboxes or given by residents throughout the day, and will evenly distribute the items between the four Dunedin foodbanks.

Co-ordinator Jane Orbell said foodbanks throughout the city were getting desperately low on products, particularly basic items such as sugar, flour and eggs.

The appeal had been held for almost 20 years and annually gathered thousands of items for foodbanks, to sustain struggling residents throughout the holiday period, she said.

''It's a time when Dunedin people always pull together. We're a good community.''

Appeal baskets would also be placed at entrances of The Warehouse in both Dunedin stores, so those who missed Thursday's drive could donate food up until the week before Christmas, Mrs Orbell said.

''We'll be clearing the baskets regularly and distributing those items to the food banks as well,'' she said.

Many people were involved in the annual event, including individuals and business people who loaned vehicles for the collection day, she said.

''A wide range of people help sort the food, and a major number of people give items. There are so many people in Dunedin needing help this year, but a lot find it very hard to ask for help.''

Alcohol would not be collected, Mrs Orbell said.

-rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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