Fire sirens reverberated around Glenavy last Friday night for the annual Toot for Tucker appeal, and the community responded.
The Glenavy Volunteer Fire Brigade, with the support of Glenavy School pupils and other volunteers, canvassed the streets of the South Canterbury township, collecting nonperishable foods items left at gates and doorsteps, and greeting and thanking donors who emerged to hand them over in person.
For many years, the annual food drive was organised by the Glenavy Youth Group, led by the late Kathy McCulloch.
The fire brigade stepped up to lead this year’s collection after Mrs McCulloch passed away last year, deputy fire chief Mark Jellyman said.
‘‘As a fire brigade, we used to help them out, drive around the community with the sirens on and make everyone aware of it,’’ Mr Jellyman said.
‘‘We didn’t want to lose it in the community, so we took it on as a fire brigade.’’
The community was very generous in its support this year, Mr Jellyman said.
‘‘There would’ve been six or seven banana boxes full of tins — and another four boxes of other stuff,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s huge. What we get out of Glenavy is just unbelievable.’’
In the lead up to the collection night, Glenavy School held a mufti day, asking all children to bring a can to school.
As well as helping out as runners on the night, Year 7 and 8 pupils also helped make and distribute a pamphlet to advertise the collection, as part of their community service for the William Pike Challenge.
‘‘The school was a big part of it,’’ Mr Jellyman said.
Boxes of donations were also collected from Oceania Dairy Ltd, Waitaki Bridge Village and Kaik Rd letterboxes.
Because Glenavy sits between Oamaru and Waimate, the Toot for Tucker collection is shared between the two towns. This year, the Oamaru Churches Foodbank will benefit from the Glenavy donations, and next year everything will go to the Waimate Foodbank.
The Oamaru Toot for Tucker, organised by the North Otago Lions Club, is being held on Monday, December 6.