With the curtain set to come down on the Hawke's Bay Christmas Cheer Appeal for another year, the community can pat itself on the back for generously making sure the less fortunate are going to have a merry Christmas.
Some great donations have pushed the cash fund past the $9000 mark - and a big thank you to the good folk at Mitre 10 Mega who embarked on a fundraising campaign at their Napier and Hastings stores.
Customers responded generously - with one person stepping forward and leaving a cheque for $220. Two of the staff at the Hastings store really stepped up to the plate, with Robyn Nelson personally collecting $769 and Catherine Sambrook $444 ... and Catherine only works weekends!
A great result, and it followed on from Mitre 10 Mega raising just over $800 at the Ladies Night three weeks ago.
Mission Estate made up a large trailer of split firewood from the recent harvesting of their pine forest and raised $260 through a raffle.
And the Christmas spirit was shared by the Brown, McGregor and Redshaw families who dropped in with a combined $200.
Added to the $14,000 which came in from trust, the cash total has soared to more than $23,000.
The gift fund has also gone splendidly this year, and people like Pat Anderson of Napier typify the giving spirit. She called in to the Napier office of Hawke's Bay Today and dropped off a large bag of knitted toys and gifts. Her colourful creations will bring smiles to several small faces this Christmas.
Preparing and packing the more than 1100 food and gift parcels which will be distributed to families and individuals for Christmas Day began earlier this week.
It is a major task, and the appeal co-ordinators in Napier and Hastings paid tribute to the devotion of the volunteer crews who come together every year to get the big job done.
Every last item of canned and packaged food and every toy, book and gift is checked and sorted for the appropriate recipient.
Jo Reyngoud and her great team at Family Works in Hastings, and Michele Glogoski, Jill Affleck and Belinda McLeod from Napier Community Development steered the ship, but without the "vollies" it would be impossible to get it done.
And the whole appeal, which has been run annually for more than 25 years and which Hawke's Bay Today has supported year after year, would certainly not be possible without the support of the business community, service groups, schools and individuals.
The appeal is set to wrap tomorrow although late gift and toy donations will be used for additional emergency parcels where required, as well as get next year's appeal off to a flying start.