"Unbelievable" ... Sorting the many food donations made during this year's Toot for Tucker are (from left) Oamaru Churches Food Bank volunteer Brenda Adams, manager Bernard Wilkinson and secretary/treasurer Jill Wilson. PHOTO: RUBY HEYWARD

“Blown away” and, probably, a little tired.

That is how Oamaru Churches Food Bank volunteers are feeling after sorting the masses of donations collected during Toot for Tucker.

On Monday, the annual North Otago Lions Club-run drive went ahead and emergency services, businesses and community organisations canvassed the streets of Oamaru in cars, ambulances, police vehicles and fire engines, stopping at people’s homes to collect non-perishable food donations for the food bank.

Foodbank chairwoman Rosemary Bentley was “blown away” by the generosity of the community.

“We are just so grateful – it enables us to help people [who] are struggling and need help,” Mrs Bentley said.

“We have people who come and give us things now, who say they were supported 25 years ago – those people are so appreciative of what they were given.”

It was not just the community’s generosity that she was grateful for, but that of the young people who volunteered as runners to collect donations.

“We do appreciate what those young folk do for us. Every year they are very generous with their support as far as their time and energy.”

Leading up to the food drive, there were concerns it might not go ahead, as many other events like it had been cancelled around Otago.

“We would be struggling because this actually sets us up for the whole year – that’s the basics for the year,” Mrs Bentley said.

After another successful Toot for Tucker, the foodbank would not have to worry.

Foodbank manager Bernard Wilkinson said the amount of food collected was “unbelievable” and he was confident the food bank could cope with any of the demands made upon it in the year to come.