Octacan items turn up by the thousand

Presbyterian Support practice manager Deb Gelling with cans of food for Octacan in the Octagon on...
Presbyterian Support practice manager Deb Gelling with cans of food for Octacan in the Octagon on Thursday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH.
The annual Octacan drive for the city's biggest foodbank brought in thousands of cans this year, staple foods spaghetti and baked beans being among the most popular items.

Presbyterian Support marketing and communications manager Warren Rosser said not all of the cans had been counted, but he could safely say there were at least 15,000 items of food given by individuals, businesses and school groups, including more than a thousand sachets of dried food.

The organisation's target for this year was 18,500, and the final number of items would be tallied up today.

Mr Rosser said some community organisations had donated more than a thousand cans, and there were "in excess of a dozen" school groups who turned up at the Octagon.

"It's been fantastic to see the support from the community," he said.

Spaghetti and baked beans were "the good old staples" and had proved popular this year.

Cash donations were also collected at about six sites around Dunedin yesterday, and a Givealittle page had been set up for the foodbank. The money would go towards fresh food for the foodbank's food parcels. Mr Rosser said that in the two years he had worked at Presbyterian Support the demand for food parcels in Dunedin had been fairly steady at about 240 a month, which came to about 10,000 food items.

The number remained the same all year round rather than increasing in winter, he said.

One of the small things Presbyterian Support appreciated was people donating cans for which people did not need a can opener.

Kings' High School deputy rector Sheldon Revell said his pupils gave 2257 cans this year, more than two cans per pupil, which was "very close" to their school record. The pupils were at the Octagon dropping off the donations yesterday.

Columba College year 13 pupil Amy Waldburger (18), who organised the drive for her school, said pupils had managed to contribute 650 cans, and it was rewarding to give back to the community

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