Over the past 16 festive seasons the students, staff, parents and supporters of Lindisfarne College in Hastings would have gathered together enough non-perishable food items to fill a warehouse.

It has become a Christmas tradition of both generosity and the desire to give those less fortunate out in the community some great support, and smiles, at this important time of the year.

A time to help spread Christmas cheer through the annual appeal which itself has been running for more than 35 years now.

In the build-up to Christmas, and as the end of the school year approaches, Lindisfarne College stages a carol service for students, parents and staff, and there is a slight charge to attend.

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"Bring along something non-perishable for the food side of the appeal," Lindisfarne chaplain Warren Fortune said.

And last Monday they did just that, dropping hundreds of items into the boxes which lined the college's transportation trailer parked outside the hall.

"It's just something that has become traditional for us now," Fortune said.

"The students recognise that for many out there Christmas-time can be a struggle — so they step up to help."

Parents and staff also took along canned and bottled and packaged items and on Tuesday the results of their generosity were stacked up in the trailer and taken to the Christmas Cheer Appeal's Hastings collection centre, to the delight of co-ordinator Jo Reyngoud.

"They have supported us every year I can remember — it's wonderful," she said.

It was a busy week for Fortune, who has been college chaplain for 24 years and the driver of the carol service collection, as he has now retired from the role.

"But I am sure it will continue under new hands," he said.

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Gifts and food goodies are continuing to arrive at the drop-off points, and the cash side of the appeal has been boosted with a $322 donation collected up by the Lioness Club of Havelock North.

The appeal runs until December 20.


Drop-off points

NAPIER: Hawke's Bay Today, Dickens St, Alexander Construction Ahuriri, Toyworld, Mitre 10, Westpac Taradale, Napier and Taradale Libraries.

HASTINGS: Hawke's Bay Today, Heretaunga St, Flaxmere Library, Hastings Library, Havelock North Library.