Food drive chance to show support for Tonga

The organiser of a food drive in support of Tonga hopes Dunedin residents will dig deep and show the generosity for which Southerners are famed this week.

The Southern District Health Board is spearheading a collection of canned goods, non-perishable foods and other essential items at Dunedin Public Hospital from today.

Organiser Kym Makanesi said while food and bottled water were among the more needed items, she was hopeful people would give whatever they could spare to the appeal.

The collection was an opportunity for Dunedin residents to show support for people affected by the volcano and subsequent tsunami which devastated much of Tonga on January 15.

While Mrs Makanesi had a Cook Islands background, her husband was Tongan and the family had members affected by the volcano.

"We’ve heard from the family from the main islands, but not in the outer islands. So for us, as a family, we are hoping to get some more support for the outer islands because we just don’t know what’s happening with them over there."

The drive also aimed to provide support to Tongans who did not have family members in New Zealand or Australia.

The collection would not be affected by this week’s shift to Red traffic light settings as people were not expected to congregate at the collection point.

"We’re hoping people will be passing through, dropping off and carrying on again."

Donations can be dropped off in the main foyer of the hospital from 9am to 3pm daily until Friday.

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