With Christmas around the corner and the shelves of the Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank bare, it's time for our community to dig deep.
This year alone the foodbank has helped more than 700 individuals and families with more than 1000 food parcels.
Today the Rotorua Daily Post launches its annual Christmas Appeal with a $1000 donation to the Salvation Army Foodbank.
From now until December 23, in conjunction with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits 97.5FM, the Rotorua Daily Post will be seeking non-perishable food donations to help the foodbank continue its good work throughout the Christmas period and into 2017.
Following its success last year, there will again be a Fill The Bus day, with Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Reesby's donating the use of a bus for the day. The bus will travel around the city for locals to fill with canned goodies.
Last year the appeal raised $49,092 in food and cash donations, as schools, workplaces and community groups rallied behind the cause.
Linkage (Family Focus Rotorua) has been making donations once a fortnight for most of the year.
Linkage community connector Derryn Hyde said they often had clients who needed food parcels, who were referred on to the Sallies.
"One of our staff members started a donation box and we take it over every fortnight.
"The Sallies do such good work and it's rewarding knowing you can give back to others."
He said it encouraged others to give during the appeal, adding it wasn't about how much they could give it was simply about giving.
"This year as a team we are going to donate gifts during the first week of December for Christmas.
"Christmas is just one celebration but it can be a really pressed time of year," he said.
Demand from 764 clients for food parcels since January has meant the Salvation Army's supplies are in desperate need of replenishing.
Rotorua Salvation Army officer Ralph Overbye said the demand had been constant, with the charity handing out 1147 food parcels since the beginning of the year.
"We've been using the stock we got from the last Christmas drive but a lot of that is gone now.
"We don't have much in the way of staple items such as spaghetti, baked beans, dried pasta, biscuits and crackers. It's these items that go best in our parcels because they are quick and easy for families. Sometimes we will give a family a bag of flour and they don't know what to do with it."
Mr Overbye said if they did not have food to give out, families had to go without.
"We keep giving out what we can but without those staples our parcels don't contain things people normally get."
He said the big food drive at Christmas time did not always tie the foodbank over for the year.
"The great thing about Rotorua is that the people here are always quick to help, the generosity blows us away and we are always appreciative of that assistance. Without the public's help, we wouldn't be able to do what we do."
Mayor Steve Chadwick is also backing the Christmas appeal.
"A caring community looks after its most vulnerable members and we should all do what we can by donating to the appeal to help those who are struggling.
"I encourage the community to think of others at this time and as they have in the past, to once again support this wonderful cause."
Make your donations of non-perishable food at the Rotorua Daily Post office: 1143 Hinemoa St or the Salvation Army's Community Ministries, 1188 Amohia St.
You can also donate money at BNZ: The Salvation Army Rotorua, Reference: Foodbank, Acc: 02-0416-0024233-00 If any organisations, schools or individuals are organising a fundraising event, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting reporter Kyra Dawson on (07) 349 7477.
Additional reporting Stephanie Arthur-Worsop
What the Salvation Army needs:
- Canned spaghetti
- Baked beans
- Dried pasta
- Pasta sauce
- Noodles/snack meals
- Spreads (peanut butter/Marmite/jam)
- Canned meat (chicken/fish)
- Nappies (not newborn)