St Matthew’s students stepped up to help, Kate Seymour, left, 16, Amanda Harris, 16, Claire McFetridge, 16, Amy Wood, 16, and Charlotte Hewitt, 15. PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

Masterton Fire Station was a hub of activity for the annual Foodbank collection, with about 100 young and old volunteers stepping up to ensure others don’t go without this summer.

Emergency services join forces with the Rotary clubs of Wairarapa every year to collect non-perishable foods from the region’s streets to donate to the Foodbank charity, which supplies food parcels to people in need.

The co-ordinator of Masterton Foodbank, Lyn Tankersley, said there was a noticeable increase in the number of school pupils volunteering for this year’s appeal.

Dhylan Taua, 16, of Wairarapa College.
PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

Dozens of teens from Wairarapa colleges collected the items dropped off at the station and, with determined faces, ventured across the vast concrete floor to find the appropriate table to drop off the food type they were carrying.

It was a race to sort through each vehicle filled with food, before the next one pulled up to be unloaded.

Tankersley said about 30 vehicles had been allocated different roads to collect from in Masterton on Wednesday night.

On Thursday afternoon, the food collection in Masterton alone totalled more than 280 banana boxes, slightly more than the year before.

Food drives were also held across the other Wairarapa towns.

Helping on the night, St Matthew’s Collegiate student Kate Lewis, 16, said it felt good to give to those going without.

“We’re giving our excess because they don’t have enough.”

Rathkeale College’s Liam Wardman, 15, described the scene at the fire station as “pretty chaotic”, following up with “it was for a good cause”.

Robert Cameron, of Masterton South Rotary Club, said it was fantastic to see so many young people assisting.

He said the enthusiasm of students was obvious, and it was good for them to understand what the Foodbank was about and its important place in the community.

Masterton Foodbank chairwoman Pam Horncy said the need for the charity was more vital than ever.

“The demand [for food parcels] is increasing every year.

“It’s the cost of living with high rents and electricity bills – wages aren’t keeping pace with that.”

People who missed the home collection can drop off food to any Wairarapa fire station, library, Foodbank, or to Masterton Paper Plus.