The smell of a fresh roast chicken will fill the homes of families in need next week, thanks to generous donations from the community.

More than 50 volunteers filled the Salvation Army church on Tuesday to pack the 120 hampers put together using food donated during the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal.

Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye said the food hampers would bring a huge amount of relief to people at Christmas time.

"It's going to be a real blessing for them to just be able to take a breather over the Christmas break and enjoy some family time."


The charity can only cope with making 120 hampers a year and creating them has taken every inch of space in the church.

Overbye said there were a number of ways people could receive food hampers but families known to the charity would be prioritised.

She said other food parcels would go to those who had come forward and voiced their struggles.

"We do know that there are still others that will be struggling that we have missed or have gone under the radar.

Aroha King from the Salvation Army (left) and Rotorua Boys' High School's Montell Graham help pack hampers. Photo / Ben Fraser
Aroha King from the Salvation Army (left) and Rotorua Boys' High School's Montell Graham help pack hampers. Photo / Ben Fraser

"I don't want people to be worried or concerned because we still have our usual foodbank process, and if we still have our extra Christmas goodies, we'll pop those in too."

Monetary donations have enabled the Salvation Army to buy roast chickens to include in the hampers and TRG Imaging Rotorua has gifted more than $2000 worth of fresh produce.

The appeal helps stock the foodbank for Christmas and the following year and donations to the appeal poured in over the past couple of days.

One man, who wanted to remain anonymous, donated 350 items from the back of his ute.


As of yesterday, the running total of items which had been counted was 19,205 bringing the estimated monetary value to $41,787.

Students from Rotorua Boys' High School also helped sort the hampers in true Christmas spirit causing the number of volunteers to supersede previous years.

"I am so thankful and grateful that the community has really jumped on board. And that they can see the need and are wanting to be part of the solution," Overbye said.

Rotorua Boys' High School director of football Mark Trembath had organised a group of junior and senior boys to volunteer their time.

It is the first year the boys had been involved and 14 boys showed up.

He said there was a high buy-in from parents and boys and other students that weren't there were already on holiday.

"I think it is really important for them to learn some community spirit to go with the sporting and academic success.

"The boys have been supported through loads of communities throughout the year with their football and it is a chance for them to give back and help out some people in need."

The appeal finishes this Saturday and the Rotorua Daily Post, in conjunction with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM, is seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army Rotorua foodbank continue its good work.