'Generous' residents fill shelves

Jane Orbell
Jane Orbell
More than $120,000 worth of food is lining the shelves of Dunedin's four main foodbanks, following a three-hour collection throughout the city on Thursday night.

The food and donated presents will be sorted into Christmas hampers and given to those struggling this festive season.

The annual Community Can Drive and Christmas Treats Appeal netted about 800 banana boxes full of packaged food, from residents throughout the wider Dunedin area including Waitati, Port Chalmers and the Otago Peninsula.

Appeal co-ordinator Jane Orbell said each box contained at least $150 worth of food.

Hundreds of volunteers travelled throughout Dunedin from 6pm on Thursday. Emergency vehicles with sirens alerted residents to collectors in their areas.

Mrs Orbell said the collection stopped about 9pm, so children would not be kept awake by sirens.

Overall, the amount of food collected was about the same as last year, but many more treats and presents were given, she said.

''It was amazing. We had a lot more special things like chocolates and gifts. People obviously thought about how Christmas is all about the special things.''

The items were sorted and evenly distributed to the foodbanks yesterday morning, Mrs Orbell said.

''It's all on the shelves now, ready to parcel up next week when the foodbanks do their Christmas hampers.''

Mrs Orbell thanked everybody involved in the appeal, from those who volunteered their time and resources to those who gave so generously.

''It's a real community thing, and Dunedin has again shown it's a great city for people being generous. We had a lot of people wanting to volunteer this year, including a 75-year-old woman who was just amazing.''

Those who missed the collection could still give food by leaving it in baskets at the entrances of The Warehouse stores in Dunedin until about four days before Christmas.

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