Annual appeal launched to raise food and funds
In roughly six weeks’ time children all over Rotorua will be waking up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day. After opening presents the lucky ones will sit down for a Christmas dinner. But for the not so lucky ones, the Salvation Army foodbank comes to the rescue.
Today the Rotorua Daily Post launches its annual Christmas Appeal.
From now until December 22, the Rotorua Daily Post, in conjunction with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits 97.5FM, is seeking non-perishable food donations to help the foodbank continue its good work throughout the Christmas period and into 2019.
This year alone the Rotorua Salvation Army foodbank has helped more than 720 individuals and families with more than 1020 food parcels.
Corps officers Kylie and Ralph Overbye are helping co-ordinate the appeal and Kylie said this year the focus was bringing hope.
“Every year we want to see families have a nice Christmas. I don’t think people should have to go without at Christmas and any time of year.”
Kylie said the foodbank was “holding its own” but stocks tended to deplete over Christmas. There was always a drop in staples such as rice, pasta and tinned foods, she said.
“This appeal every year helps us keep our foodbank stocked through the rest of the year. So when families come in need we don’t need to refuse food because there isn’t any.”
The 2017 appeal raised more than $80,000 worth of cans and money for the foodbank. Kylie said they didn’t have any expectations for this year but just wanted to keep the foodbank stocked.
“For us it’s not about raising the figure, it’s about being consistent and able to provide.”
Food donated through the appeal goes towards creating Christmas hampers for those in need. Any money donated is used to buy more food.
For the Salvation Army, food is a starting point for helping people in other ways.
“Food parcels are a great connection point to figure out what are the real issues going on in their lives. Then we do our best to provide wrap-around services,” Kylie said.
She encouraged people to donate to the appeal to create a strong community.
“It’s great the community supports each other. We are a community and I think it’s important we help those who are in need, that’s a sign of a strong community and supportive community.”
Ralph said the number of people in need of food was “as high as it’s ever been”, and the appeal also helped raise awareness of the foodbank.
After its success last year, there will again be a Fill The Bus day on December 5. The bus will travel around the city so locals can fill it with canned goods.
The appeal last year raised $82,080 in food and cash donations, as schools, workplaces and community groups rallied behind the cause.
Rotorua Daily Post editor Scott Inglis said the appeal was a great initiative.
“We’re thrilled to be supporting the Salvation Army Foodbank again and I encourage everyone to donate to the cause.
“Without the help of the foodbank hundreds of families go without each year. They do such a great job and help so many people and families who need it.”
Salvation Army Corps officers Kylie and Ralph Overbye.