Count to ten for Octacan

3 May 2018

We are just weeks away from our annual Octacan collection, in support of Family Works foodbank. It will take place on Thursday, 21 June from 7.30am in the lower Octagon.

This is the tenth Octacan that Presbyterian Support Otago has organised. The goal is to have at least 18,000 cans and $5,000 donated this year.

Community support and donations to Octacan have increased every year, from 4,000 items donated in the very first Octacan (2009), to over 22,000 items last year. The combined total is impressive, with almost 100,000 items donated by a very generous public.

Debbie Gelling, Family Works Practice Manager, said, “Our Family Works team distributes over 10,000 items in food parcels each month, and the foodbank is a critical service for the local community."

“We continue to see issues such as affordable housing, redundancies, low wages, and high heating costs impact and make it challenging for a growing number of individuals and families to get through the week. As we head into winter and budgets get tighter buying food is one area people often see as a flexible cost in their budget so it gets stretched that little bit too far.”

“Octacan is a very easy way for the public to support us with can donations. We are particularly keen for people to donate cans that have easy tear tops and can be a whole meal, as these can be used by anyone.”

Cash donations are also really appreciated. Presbyterian Support Otago will have a street appeal in the centre city throughout the day, or people can give via the Givealittle site we have set up.

“We know that Otago people are always very generous and supportive of Octacan. We would love to see as many people as possible come to the Octagon with a can or two on 21 June.”

In the month leading up to Octacan Presbyterian Support Otago is keen to speak with anyone who has contributed to Octacan over all of the previous nine years, and intends to be involved again this year.

Let’s see if we can continue the trend of going above and beyond! If you are in Dunedin, please join us for Octacan on Thursday, 21 June 2018, from 7.30am.


Looking back…

In 2009, the very first Octacan resulted in 4,013 kindly donated, placed into a shape of a koru. The first can was placed by Deputy Mayor Syd Brown, and the koru reached 4.45 metres across.

2010 brought in MediaWorks to help with advertising, resulting in an increase of 29%, with over 5,600 cans donated.

2011 saw 6,524 cans donated, many were from secondary school students. Columba and Taieri Colleges both won the radio award offered by MediaWorks, for the most amount of cans donated by a group. The Business award went to Converse New Zealand.

In 2012 over 8,000 donations were given. Lisa Wells, our Director of Communication and Fundraising at the time, stated that “The circle of generosity means we can continue to provide essential support.”

In 2013 the wet weather didn’t deter scores of children from helping to donate 7,229 items. Included was six year old Logan Boswell, who had been donating since aged three.

In 2014 the heart grew twice the size of 2013 with 13,312 donations. It was described as being “A heart of compassion.”

Generosity continued in 2015 with 14,577 donations. Monica Lindemann, Communication, Fundraising and Marketing Director, said “It may have rained cats and dogs, but people were exceedingly generous. It was a day of people helping people”.

2016 saw donations jump up again to 18, 301 cans. 

Last year, 2017, was the biggest turn out so far. “The sodden frost-covered ground was brightened by outlined hearts of colourful chalk. Each heart marked the placement of differently themed cans.” We had a record breaking 22,172 donations! 

Our goal for our tenth event in 2018 is to have at least 18,000 cans and $5,000 donated, to make a total of a possible 23,000 items. Let’s see if we can continue the trend of going above and beyond.