An­nual ap­peal launched to raise food and funds

Rotorua Daily Post - - Front Page - Opin­ion, A3

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.”

PHOTO / BEN FRASER

Sal­va­tion Army Corps of­fi­cers Kylie and Ralph Over­bye.

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