Generous donations are filling foodbank shelves across Central Otago to benefit people in need this Christmas.
Tins of fruit, sauces, baked beans and spaghetti are among the many items lining the shelves at the Salvation Army in Alexandra, following its latest annual Can Drive appeal, held last week.
The Salvation Army Alexandra Community Ministries co-ordinator Bess Carbines said it was difficult to gauge just how many items had come through the door over recent weeks, but she confirmed it was “a generous amount”.
“We are so thankful for the generosity of our community,” she said.
“Donations come in throughout the year, but at Christmas time the kindness of the community exceeds our expectations.
“Just one litre of milk, a tin of spaghetti and a loaf of bread can go a long way to meet someone’s needs.” – Bess Carbines
“At this time of the year, people’s belts are tightened due to a range of challenges and this is where we can help to lessen the stress at this time.”
Those challenges did not discriminate, she said.
“It doesn’t affect a particular group. It can affect anybody for any reason.”
She said a small donation can make a big difference.
“Just one litre of milk, a tin of spaghetti and a loaf of bread can go a long way to meet someone’s needs.”
The Salvation Army Can Drive, which is into its 10th year, is the work of Southern Wide Real Estate Central Otago, fire brigades, school children and adults.
Volunteers cruised around the streets of Alexandra and Clyde collecting for the appeal on December 5.
Rebecca Ireland, of Southern Wide Real Estate, was pleased with the support, which she said was on a par with last year’s.
“[We] had a great response from both towns. It was great to see lots of kids out on the street waiting for the fire engines to go past and have food for us.”
Canned goods were the most common items donated.
However, chocolate, drinks, crackers and other non-perishable goods, along with children’s Christmas gifts, were also added to the mix.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to all our runners and Alan Hamilton from Dunstan High School, to the fire brigades in Alexandra and Clyde and to everyone that supported and donated goods to the people in need.”
“Anyone who missed out on donating items can still do so, Mrs Ireland said.
” . . . we have a tree in our reception; pop non-perishable goods under there and we will drop them to the Salvation Army.”
There are a range of other foodbanks throughout Central Otago, which also welcome support and donations.
Among them is the Teviot Valley foodbank, which is run through the Baptist Church.
Co-ordinator Richard Jory said although there was not a high demand for its food parcels, there was still a need.
“It is part of the church’s role and nobody knows what’s around the corner.”
The Community Food Pantry in Alexandra is also available to help those in need, but only those working with social agencies.
Treasurer Pam Hughes said anyone wanting to support the cause could donate food to their church or leave items in a basket at Community House.
The Cromwell foodbank also welcomes items, including non-perishable goods and monetary donations.
Co-ordinator Adrienne Heal said people could drop donations in bins in Cromwell’s New World and Fresh Choice supermarkets.
People could also contact the town’s resource centre, which takes note of people in need of food, she said.
The Cromwell foodbank is grateful for the support it receives throughout the year, particularly from various community organisations, schools and local businesses.
Donations of perishable items are also made possible throughout the year thanks to the Cromwell Welfare Trust, Mrs Heal said.
“It’s all provided by funds the trust applies for.”
Due to the ongoing support, the foodbank rarely had a shortage of food, which was “great”, Mrs Heal said.