Generosity sorely needed

'The community is still giving'

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
Jane Ferguson and Janet McDonald
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

HELPING HANDS: The Salvation Army manager of community ministries in Timaru, Jane Ferguson, left, and advocate case worker Janet McDonald sort items into boxes ready for families in need to collect in time for Christmas.

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The Christmas rush will keep South Canterbury food banks busy over the coming days.

Timaru's food banks have been collecting non-perishable items to distribute to hundreds of families in need for Christmas.

The Salvation Army has started boxing items including biscuits, chips, bottled drink, cereals and chocolate. Staff will also add vegetables and meat as people arrive to collect their hampers.

Community ministries manager Jane Ferguson said boxed hampers would go to 110 families and another 40 were expected to get a food parcel to keep them going over Christmas.

The popular service was made possible by various groups and initiatives including the Suburban Lions Club's Toot for Tucker appeal, which the community was always generous towards, she said.

"The year before there were 26 banana boxes [of food collected]. This year it was 30 boxes for each [foodbank], so the community is still giving even though people are finding it hard."

Cream and fresh fruit and vegetables were still needed.

A toy run, organised by the Bronz Motorcycle Club, will also help put a smile on hundreds of children's faces.

Mrs Ferguson said it was the community that made Christmas special for those in need at Christmas, not just the food banks.

Anglican Care receptionist and administrator Lynne Openshaw said food parcels would be distributed as far away as Waimate and Twizel this year.

Parishioners had been incredibly generous, she said.

"We couldn't have done it without them."

Family Works manager from Presbyterian Support South Canterbury Liz Nolan said the demand for food parcels had been constant throughout the year. She expected demand over Christmas to be higher than in previous years.

The organisation was grateful for the support to meet that demand, she said.

"We are very appreciative of those people in the community who are our regular donors."

St Vincent de Paul has also been collecting items to give people in need. Although the community had been generous, Christmas specialty items are still needed, including Christmas cakes and chocolates.

Mary Brown, of St Vincent de Paul, said it was likely more people would be calling on the service than in other years.

She said children were the group's main focus, so they were dedicated to providing families in need with toys and clothes.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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