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Spurred to action by the cancellation of the traditional door- to-door emergency services Christmas can appeal, the stadium, along with the Highlanders, Otago Rugby and Otago Cricket, is setting up a drive-through can collection in the parking lot next Wednesday.
People can drive in to the stadium car park between noon and 7pm with their essential and non-perishable food items and hand them to some of the province’s sports stars, who will be on hand to meet and greet donors.
Dunedin Venues chief executive officer Terry Davies said the We Can! Community Can Appeal would allow the stadium to act as a focal point to engage with fans of the sports teams.
"We think we could create something that might become an annual event where we’re giving good back to the community."
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins agreed that the players were likely to be greater drawcards than city councillors might have been.
"I don’t know if you’d necessarily want to invite politicians down when people are armed with full cans of tomatoes ... certainly the sporting stars are the heroes on the day.
He was proud of how Dunedin had responded to the news that foodbanks were short of food, and said the town had a really strong spirit of community, volunteering and giving.
Otago Rugby Football Union chief executive Richard Kinley said the provincial team had 16 Super Rugby players on its books, most of whom played for the Highlanders and would be present on the day.
"People will come down and they’ll meet some of the players who are Otago and Highlanders players, which is great.
"It’s great for them to see that those players who play in our community rugby competitions are making it to the highest level."
Salvation Army community ministries manager David MacKenzie said the loss of the emergency services collections had a huge impact on resourcing for the food banks.
"We are so grateful for so many individuals, community groups, and businesses for creating ways to support."