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Smiling supporter .. St John's cadet Casey-May Watt (then 10) helps sort out the donated items from Toot for Tucker at the Salvation Army last year. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

Timaru residents will be serenaded with sirens and car horns on Monday evening – for the cause of collecting for the town’s foodbanks.

The annual Toot for Tucker food drive collection, run by the Timaru Suburban Lions, returns on Monday and volunteers will be driving the streets of Timaru collecting canned goods and other items.

The donated items will go towards the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and Presbyterian Support foodbanks.

Timaru Toot for Tucker organising committee member Vicki Gould said residents could either come out to the street with items when they heard horns or sirens, or leave the items by their gates.

She encouraged residents to give a variety of items, with previous years’ donations including pasta, toilet paper, cereal and canned goods.

“Some people think it’s [just] a can collection.”

The drivers will leave the Salvation Army collection point at 6pm on Monday to travel the streets.

Ms Gould said collectors would do one, or sometimes two, trips down most roads, except for State Highway 1.

That was for the safety of those collecting, as they would be driving slowly on the main road, she said.

This meant State Highway 1 – including Evans St, Craigie Ave and King St – would not be a pick-up location.

Ms Gould estimated the Timaru Toot for Tucker collection had been going for about 12 years and had been inspired by a similar event run by the Ashburton Lions.

She said the three foodbanks were always grateful for the items donated and many of them helped out on the night.

Christmas was a particularly busy time for the foodbanks and many of them were left with almost bare shelves before the food drive.

Ms Gould said she remembered one lady who donated saying she always gave items as she had used foodbanks in the past and wanted to give back now she could.

“There are wonderful people we meet along the way.”

People interested in volunteering can get in touch via the Timaru Suburban Lions Facebook page.

If residents hear sirens or car horns on Monday evening after 6pm, they should take items to donate to the roadside, or leave items by their letterboxes for pick-up.