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Rotorua Weekender - 2021-11-26

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Helping hand filling tummies

NEWS

Shauni James

Donna Reiss says there's nothing quite as satisfying as a well organised shelf at the local food bank which is going to end up helping out someone in need. Donna is the Christmas food coordinator for the Rotorua Salvation Army this year. In her role, she helps to ensure the smooth running of the food bank throughout the season of Christmas. The Rotorua Daily Post, with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM, has launched its annual Christmas appeal to raise food and money for the food bank. From now until December 18, the team will be seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army Foodbank continue its work throughout the Christmas period and into 2022. Donna says she started off volunteering for the Rotorua Salvation Army in its second-hand shop, but has been volunteering for its food bank since the first Covid lockdown, when it needed all hands on deck. “I started doing every Wednesday morning — cleaning, doing food parcels, and checking stock dates.” She is now working at the food bank five days a week from 9am to 4.30pm, up until December 24. Donna says she had learnt many food bank tips and tricks from when she helped out during lockdown. “I feel like I'm running my own little shop while helping people to have kai too.” It is something she loves doing. “It's my favourite — helping feed people and knowing it's going to people who really need it and are going to appreciate it. “Children shouldn't have to feel that way of feeling hungry and having no food. It's always great to have parents come in and know that there will be enough for them all. “Everyone should be fed and have food in their tummies. It's a cool way we can help here. It's helping a lot of people and when we bring it out they are so happy.” She says she is looking forward to helping with putting the Christmas hampers together and sorting out the toys for gifts. She is also keeping a tally of the donations that come in for the appeal. Donna says she is also excited about this year's Fill the Bus, and that it will be fun to have schools getting involved in the day. “I think it's always nice to help people out if you can, even just a couple of cans. There are a lot of people out there who need it . . . it's like gift giving but to the community rather than friends and family.” Christmas is a busy time of year for the local Salvation Army Foodbank. Last year it provided food assistance on 1462 occasions, not including Christmas support where it provided food support to 445 households.

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