Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Christmas appeal: Foodbank and music stars combine for community

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Hollie Smith, Georgia Lines and Anika Moa are among the line up performing at this year's Christmas in the Park, which will raise money for local charities including Tauranga Community Foodbank.
Hollie Smith, Georgia Lines and Anika Moa are among the line up performing at this year's Christmas in the Park, which will raise money for local charities including Tauranga Community Foodbank.

Tauranga Christmas in the Park is not only a fun-filled family day out, it supports a range of community organisations including Tauranga Community Foodbank.

As well as a gold coin donation to enter the event, people attending Christmas in the Park are asked to bring an item of food and a wrapped present to be donated to one of a range of local organisations.

Organiser Rachelle Duffy said the food and gifts would go to charities Tauranga Community Foodbank, Good Neighbour, Women's Refuge and Homes of Hope.

Christmas in the Park organiser Rachelle Duffy with former foodbank chairman Alan Plunkett, with food donated from last year's event. Photo/File
Christmas in the Park organiser Rachelle Duffy with former foodbank chairman Alan Plunkett, with food donated from last year's event. Photo/File

"This year, because we will have a larger pool of Christmas presents and food, we're able to reach out to other organisations like Arataki Community Centre, Merivale Community Centre and Brookfield Community Centre, as well as other charities like Shakti.

"We've grown each year, so we're more able to give to other small organisations that need help at this time of year."

Mrs Duffy said she wanted people to realise that the event was not about making money. All the profits went to charity.

The event was being held earlier this year than in previous years because of the workload that fell on the volunteers when it came to sorting and delivering donations.

This year's event, being held on December 10 at Blake Park, has an all-star line-up, including Hollie Smith, Anika Moa, Jordan Luck Band, Georgia Lines and Daughters of Ally, plus a range of local acts.

Mrs Duffy said there would also be other attractions to keep people of all ages happy.

A free kids' carnival would have bouncy castles and merry-go-rounds, and the Street Food Union would have food trucks ready to feed the crowds.

Night Owl Cinema would be screening old favourite Miracle on 34th Street and there would also be a youth area, targeted at 11- to 15-year-olds with activities such as water fights.

There will be an adults-only area for people to drink alcohol and the Little Big Markets would have 60 vendors setting up stalls.

The Christmas in the Park committee had 12 main organisers Mrs Duffy said, but they were still looking for people to help out by sorting donations before and after the main event.

"The event is not-for-profit. We've got a team of 12 that work on this voluntarily, but it takes more than 12 people to put this event on.

"If you're wanting to do something but don't know how, volunteering is the best way to be involved.

"You don't even have to volunteer on the day if you want to come and enjoy the acts with your family. You can help either side with the set up or packing down, or the sorting of donations."

To volunteer for the event, please register at www.littlebigevents.co.nz/taurangaschristmasinthepark.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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