The Christmas spirit is slowly seeping into Rotorua, and with 37 more sleeps to go the Salvation Army Foodbank's shelves are starting to swell.
Donations had started rolling in for the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal and more people than ever were expected to need help this festive season, Rotorua Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said.
This year alone the Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank has helped more than 720 individuals and families with more than 1020 food parcels.
Hore said the organisation had supported more people throughout the year than previous years and had seen an increase in homeless people, so expected to distribute about 100 Christmas hampers.
A small army of staff and volunteers would be getting food donations together to create the hampers to take the pressure off struggling families.
"I think that throughout the year some families are just getting by and can't afford to have special treats.
"We want to give people a bit of hope because Christmas time is a time for celebrating," Hore said.
Enjoying a roast chicken might be a common occurrence for some families but for others in the community having meat and protein in their diet was a treat, Hore said.
"We don't get many fruit and vegetables so having those are a treat as well."
Hore said the foodbank mainly relied on donations from the community and a small budget allowed her to buy a few extra items.
She was excited that this year's Christmas hampers would be able to give families the luxuries of a frozen chicken, fruit, vegetables, staple foods, and a few extra Christmas goodies.
Hore said all types of people came into the foodbank asking for help.
Some had been referred from agencies like the Ministry of Social Development and others walked in off the street.
Hore said for some people, asking for help could be "really scary" but once they did the organisation could support them.
"We take a deeper look and ask 'why do you need food?' " she said.
Hore said often other bills would take priority like rent or car payments and there would not be enough money left over for food.
This was when the organisation had a wider opportunity to help and support the community.
However, Hore said people who received a Christmas hamper would have to meet certain criteria which included engaging in positive change.
Those who do not get a hamper still have plenty of options including attending the annual Christmas Day meal.
"There's something for everybody this Christmas in Rotorua."
Do you need help?
• Head into the Community Ministries office on Amohia St for a chat.
• The Salvation Army holds an informal morning tea every Thursday from 9.30am to 12pm