Locals are being called on to jump on board and support a good cause next week.

The official schedule for Fill the Bus, led by The Hits Rotorua with support from the Rotorua Daily Post, has been released, showing locals where the bus will be stopping throughout the day.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Reesby have again donated the use of a bus, which will make its way around the city collecting non-perishable food items over 12 hours.

The bus will hit the streets next Wednesday, starting at the Western Heights Shops at 7.10am.


From there the bus will stop at 20 locations around the city, including various schools and businesses not open to public drop-offs, before the goods are unloaded and counted at the Salvation Army from 6.20pm.

All items collected will go towards the Rotorua Daily Post Salvation Army Foodbank Christmas Appeal, which aims to restock the organisation's foodbank in time for Christmas and 2019.

NZME brand engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris, (left) with Paul Hickey from The Hits and Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army. Photo / Ben Fraser
NZME brand engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris, (left) with Paul Hickey from The Hits and Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army. Photo / Ben Fraser

The drive, which is now in its fourth year, collected 5357 items of food last year, surpassing the 4298 items collected the year before and the 3564 collected before that.

The Hits 97.5 radio announcer Paul Hickey encouraged people to get behind the cause.

"It's the time of year to give, obviously there are people who need a little bit of extra help at this time of year, it's all in the spirit of giving which is what Christmas is all about.

"One can, 10 cans, it all helps."

Hickey said they were hoping to better previous years' efforts. He said the best part of the day was seeing the looks on people's faces and their satisfaction when giving.

Unloading the bus at the end of the day was also exciting.


"You've watched the bus fill up, it's not until you take it off you realise how much has been donated."

Hickey will be broadcasting part of his 9am to 3pm show from the bus and providing regular updates during the show and on The Hits Rotorua and Rotorua Daily Post Facebook pages.

Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye said the event was a huge part of the annual appeal.

"It is the time when we get the majority of our donations - the food we get from Fill the Bus keeps us stocked with the basics for months and means we can give at Christmas and support people throughout the year."

Overbye said it was a highlight every time a donation was received no matter how big or small.

"Every year we're humbled and blown away by the generosity of people in Rotorua - it's so encouraging to see how much people care and want to look after others in the town when they're having a tough time.

"To have such wonderful support from the wider community fills us with the joy and hope of the Christmas season which we then pass on to others."

NZME brand engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris said it had been good to see lots of businesses jump on board and support the campaign.

This year's Fill the Bus schedule.
This year's Fill the Bus schedule.