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.