When the scorched almonds appear, you just know it must be Christmas time.
And there were scorched almonds aplenty at Taupō Foodbank this week when local business owners Julie Pointon and Hilary Pointon made their annual donation.
For years the pair, who both own shops in the Taupō town centre, have given to the Taupō community with a foodbank donation and 2019 was no different. Now they are challenging other local businesses to do the same.
"It's just giving back really," said Hilary. "Especially when we are able to do that. We encourage other people to do it too."
The Pointons normally make their annual donation at the foodbank annual food drive, held in October or November but the foodbank did not hold one this year. It had to move out of its previous home Waiora House due to asbestos and now lacks space to store all the food it used to collect.
The Pointons' donation consisted of 55 frozen chickens and a whole supermarket trolley full of Christmas treats - scorched almonds, lollies, biscuits and Christmas puddings.
Eileen Devane, manager of the Awhina Society which runs Taupō Foodbank and Women's Refuge, says the treats will be put into Christmas hampers for families and the refuge.
The chickens will be saved and distributed in the foodbank's busiest months January and February when there is an influx of families struggling with paying off Christmas plus back-to-school costs and school camp fees.
Hilary says even when Christmas is finished, the foodbank needs donations at any time. It receives no government funding and relies on support from the community.