For the last 15 years the students of Lindisfarne College in Hastings and members of the wider school community have gathered to embrace the spirit of Christmas.

Through the joyous singing of festive season carols and the equally joyous creation of a great gift for the annual Christmas Cheer Appeal.

"We had close to 700 people come along so it was a great turnout," college chaplain Warren Fortune said.

And as it has been since the first "bring a food item" carol evening was staged the result was stunning.

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"We filled a trailer," Fortune said.

Those attending were asked to take along a non-perishable food item and the tins and packets quickly filled the collection boxes.

"It is all about being mindful of what we can do for the community and at this time of the year a lot of people are struggling."

For him as college chaplain it was a fine way to prepare for saying farewell as he is retiring from the role at the end of the first term of next year after 23 years in the role.

"But I am sure my replacement will carry this on," he said of the annual food-gathering campaign for the cheer appeal.

Fortune said the carol singing event was one of several campaigns the college was involved with as part of its community awareness.

During the year the college had become involved in supporting Women's Refuge and had provided a number of care packs for the organisation.

The Christmas Cheer Appeal was another of the community-assisting campaigns the school was devoted to being part of.

Toys and gifts are beginning to be dropped off at the collection points, and gifts for all ages are sought — especially outdoor and sporting games and items which can involved the whole family.

Some beautifully knitted goodies were dropped off at the Napier office of Hawke's Bay Today and that will give some of the hundreds of cheer parcels set to be put together a nice personal touch.

Non-perishable food items and cash donations can also be dropped off at the collection points.

The appeal runs until December 19.

DROP OFF POINTS

Napier: Hawke's Bay Today and The Hits at NZME House, Dickens St; Toyworld, Paper Plus Taradale, Alexander Construction, Mitre 10.

Hastings: Hawke's Bay Today, Hastings Public Library, Havelock North Public Library, Flaxmere Public Library.