As they have done for many a year the students of Karamu High School in Hastings have firmly and generously embraced the annual Christmas Cheer Appeal.
They have staged events in the past like mufti days as well as the now almost traditional "pack the decorated boxes with goodies" campaigns.
With the senior students now off-deck, the junior Year 9 and 10 happily stepped up to the mark, steered by deputy principal Wayne Wooster and the school's junior leaders.
The challenge was simple, and wonderful — fill as many banana boxes as you could with goodies.
It was all staged last week — they had a week to put them together and last Friday the fruits of their generous labours were spread out for a special display at the school, which happened to be attended by Santa Claus.
As well as gather up hundreds of items of non-perishable food, toiletries, Christmas crackers and toys, each junior collecting team set out to specially decorate their gift boxes, with some colourful and imaginative results.
"It's a lot of good fun for a very good cause, and it gets quite competitive," one of the organising crew at Karamu High School said.
Staff also stepped up to the mark with their own donations which along with those brought in by the students filled a remarkable 30 boxes.
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It was a case of "we'll need more transport" as they set forth taking them all into the Hawke's Bay Today office in Hastings — to the amazement and delight of the staff.
Hastings cheer co-ordinator Jo Reyngoud was equally delighted and said the school was one of many which always stepped up to do its bit for those less fortunate in the community at Christmas.
A school spokesperson said it was about hospitality and giving — part of their culture.
Food items, gifts and cash donations are beginning to arrive at the drop-off points in Napier and Hastings for what promises to be another fine community effort for the community.
Around 500 households, of families and individuals of all ages and nominated by community agencies, will benefit from the Napier side of the appeal with about 550 families set to receive cheer support in Hastings.
The food and gift parcels will help bring a smile to the faces of thousands who would
otherwise face a less festive Christmas. The appeal runs until December 20.