Outstanding community support at Octacan

It was the 22nd day of June and the 9th annual Octacan event was stirring. As the rising of the sun marked a new day, the initiation of can collecting for the food bank began.

The sodden, frost-kissed ground was brightened by outlined hearts of colourful chalk. Each heart marked the placement of differently themed cans, such as vegetables, fruit, spaghetti, and even baby food.

Over the course of the day, these hearts were steadily filled and stocked with donated items; invoking an appropriate metaphor for the steady swelling of hearts at such a generous community.

The first cans were placed at 7:30am by four young school students, braving the morning darkness to make their contributions. As the sun dragged itself across the sky, more and more people offered their own canned contributions to the cause.

Many schools were involved in the collection. Students from Kings High School and Otago Girls' High School expressed excitement at the opportunity for “young people to give back to the community”. They were proud of their respective schools for taking the initiative to hold fundraisers and donation events.

Amongst the many businesses who called by, our local Police made an appearance at the event, as two officers arrived with their own inventory of cans. One officer laughingly told of a “great operation” to raid the cupboards of their colleagues for unwanted cans. Their cupboards must have been deep indeed, to produce such a worthy haul!

“The need is great and I’m aware that these cans won’t last too long in the foodbank. The work that Presbyterian Support does is truly amazing,” said Councillor Damian Newell when he dropped by, with cans in hand.

Fundraising Coordinator Jasmin Graham was impressed: “Octacan is one of the most important events held by Presbyterian Support Otago each year, and we know that Octacan has truly become a community event.”

This year we were supported by Storage King South Dunedin and Better Moves, who assisted us to transport thousands of cans from the Octacan to our storage space in record time, among other things.

The Family Works foodbank distributes over 4,000 emergency food parcels each year. Each parcel includes tinned, packaged, and perishable food items.

The final count of donated items at Octacan’s conclusion was 22,172.

This record breaking figure was reached after over 80 school groups, community organisations, and businesses, in addition to hundreds of members of the public came to the Octagon and donated cans.

Thank you to everyone who supported Octacan 2017!