Numerous residents across Wairarapa waited at their letterboxes to meet and greet the collectors and pass on piles of items towards the appeal. PHOTO/JOHN LAZO-RON

John Lazo-Ron
john.lazo-ron@age.co.nz

Wairarapa’s four foodbank storage shelves have been flooded with non-perishable food items after an overwhelmingly generous response from the region’s community in last Wednesday’s 21st Wairarapa Annual Foodbank Appeal.

Police, fire truck and ambulance sirens were howling down the streets of Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Martinborough, and Featherston last Wednesday evening as volunteer collectors went about accumulating non-perishable food.

Numerous residents from the five towns waited at their letterboxes to meet and greet the collectors and pass on piles of items towards the appeal.

Wairarapa Foodbank Appeal assistant co-ordinator Russel Carthew said the appeal was a huge success and that there was a 30 per cent increase in items collected from 2020.

“We had a very successful collection and a big increase from last year,” he said.

“It was a big effort because all the food had to be sorted and packed and we were still going well after 10pm so it was an amazing day.”

Carthew had previously said supplies were needed now more than ever due to the uncertainty covid-19 has brought many.

Volunteers of the Wairarapa Foodbank Appeal unpacking the items in the sorting bay. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Along with the other foodbank managers, he was overwhelmed by the response and believed people had responded in the way they did, knowing there was a greater need right now.

“It never ceases to amaze me how generous the Wairarapa community are,” he said.

“The appeal has been going 21 years, and somehow they really relate to the need and respond. Even when collecting in some areas where you wouldn’t expect to get so much food, they bring so much food out to the gate. It’s wonderful and quite humbling.”

Featherston foodbank manager Indigo Freya said mass amounts of food that “would last a while” was collected in Featherston on the day.

“It was spectacular, amazing and wonderful, and we’re still kind of buzzing about the amazing generosity of the people of Featherston,” Freya said.

“We’ve got masses of wonderful stock that will last us for a while.”

May Croft, manager of the Martinborough foodbank, said the generosity would help many who were looking for supplies in the holiday season.

“It was an absolute fantastic appeal and we were overwhelmed by the community response,” she said.

“We got lots and lots of food and it’s going to fill a big gap coming into Christmas.”

Carthew and all the foodbank managers thanked and praised the emergency services, the various groups and volunteers, and the Rotary Clubs of Wairarapa [organisers of the collection] for their time and effort in making the appeal as successful as it was.

“It just wouldn’t happen without them,” Carthew said.



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