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Silver Lining In Lights Cancellation

While Covid concerns have scuppered this year’s Festival of Lights in New Plymouth, some Taranaki food banks will benefit from the cancellation.

Broadband provider Primo has divided up its returned sponsorship money and given nearly $3900 to each of the New Plymouth, Waitara and Stratford food banks to help them stock up for Christmas.

Primo’s Matt Harrison says the cancellation of the renowned Taranaki festival was a huge disappointment as the company loves being a sponsor.

“The good news was that the New Plymouth District Council refunded our sponsorship investment in full, and as it was money already spent, we decided to put this to good use in our community.”

Matt’s wife and Primo’s resident Fairy Godmother, Jasmine Harrison (yes, that’s her official title), saw in a newspaper article that the region’s food banks needed a pre-Christmas boost.

“We wanted to come up with a way that could help as many people as possible,” she says.

“Being a mother to three girls aged three and under, I understand the pressure on today’s parents and their whanau, so there’s really no better way to help our community than making sure there are some full bellies at Christmas.”

Amy Olsen, manager of the Waitara Foodbank Pataka Kai, says the money will come in very handy as it’s been a tough couple of years for lots of people.

” We don’t have a demographic of particular people anymore,” Ms Olsen says. “We’re getting people from all walks of life now.”

If anyone wants to buy something special for the food bank, she says shampoo, razors and deodorant are a real bonus for the people they look after.

Sharon Wills, the manager of the New Plymouth Community Food Bank, says they will use a lot of the money on fresh fruit and vegetables which are always in demand.

Very importantly, she says, if someone has a spare building in central New Plymouth, she would love to hear from them. The food bank is losing its premises on Vivian St shortly and they need somewhere to call home to cope with the growing demand.

Dianne Roberts, the chairperson of the Stratford Community Foodbank, says if people would like to help out there, they always love getting fresh fruit and vegies, feminine hygiene products, and UHT milk.

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