Christmas is coming but the team at the Stratford Community Foodbank isn't decking the halls with holly, but rather hoping to stock the shelves with cans.

"Cans of beans and spaghetti are always good, and pasta sauces, bags of pasta, any canned or dried food with a long shelf life is really great."

Dianne Roberts, chairperson of the Stratford Community Foodbank, says she and the rest of the team of volunteers at the foodbank are hoping Stratford residents will be as generous as usual when it comes to the annual foodbank letterbox appeal this year.

"The letterbox collection is an essential part of our preparation in the lead-up to Christmas. We ask for anyone who is able to please remember to put out some cans of food in their letterboxes that day so when our team come through the town that night, they will be able to fill our shelves with the donated food."

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Dianne says on the night three fire engines along with police cars drive through the town, with sirens and lights going, to remind everyone about the appeal as they approach each street. Numerous volunteers walk along the streets collecting the donated items and bringing it back to the foodbank on Juliet Street.

"We help hundreds of individuals and families each year, providing basic food items as well as meat, fruit and vegetables when possible to help people get through times when they are struggling to feed their families."

Dianne says the team at the foodbank appreciates all the donations received.

"Stratford New World is very supportive, as are some of the local schools who organise collections or fundraising at times."

Christmas can be a time when households struggle financially, says Dianne, so it is important the pantry shelves at the foodbank are well stocked over the festive season.

"Please, if you can put a can or two in your mailbox for the appeal, it will make a real difference to families in need this year."

Stratford Community Foodbank letterbox appeal: Monday, December 3. 6pm.
Please keep an eye on the Stratford Press Facebook page for times and details of the other foodbank collections in Eltham, Inglewood and New Plymouth.