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Quite a collection . . . A group of volunteers at Kaiapo Community Support with some of the food donated across the district during lst year's Toot for Tucker. Photo: File

By DAVID HILL

The annual pre-Christmas food drive will return on Tuesday, December 1.

Covid-19 has had an impact, organiser Bev Wright says.

“We are asking people to provide their own bags this year because the cost of this project has gone up exponentially, and with Covid-19 we didn’t know if we were going to be able to do it again.

“The bags are really popular and we may decide to go back to them in future, but for now we are going ask people to put the food out in a bag.

“It can be a plastic bag, paper bag or a cloth bag.”

The impact of Covid-19 means families who have never visited a food bank before are finding themselves with reduced hours and reduced incomes.

“There’s still a lot of stigma around people going to a food bank when they need help and there shouldn’t be, because that’s what it’s there for,” Bev says.

If anyone is wondering what to include in their food bags, Bev says something for Christmas dinner, such as tinned fruit or Christmas mince pies, would be a great addition.

“Anything that’s a little bit Christmasy will be quite nice because there will be families who will be having a lean time this Christmas.”

Amberley is being added for the first time this year, with all the food going to support local Amberley food banks.

Once again there will be collections in Rangiora, Woodend and Pegasus for the Rangiora Salvation Army; in Oxford and Cust for the Oxford Community Trust’s foodbank; and in Kaiapoi for Community Wellbeing North Canterbury’s food pantry at Kaiapoi Community Support.

“The important thing is all the food stays in the local area,” Bev says.

“It doesn’t go into Christchurch or some other black hole,” Bev says.

Smaller communities such as Loburn, Cust, Mandeville and Waikuku Beach can also do their bit, with local schools and service centres being drop-off points.

Toot for Tucker was first established in Rangiora after the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, meaning this year marks the 10th anniversary.

Last year, about 1500 bags were returned to stock up the Rangiora Salvation Army’s food bank, while the Oxford Community Trust also reported a record haul.

To volunteer, contact Bev on (027) 4342486 or Louise Griffiths at Kaiapoi Community Support by email on kcs.coord@wellbeingnc.org.nz.