For many Kiwis, Christmas Day conjures memories of scrunched-up wrapping paper, stockings bursting at the seams and the well-known food coma.

However, for so many in need, the festive day brings a world of stress and worry to try to cover costs while struggling to make ends meet day-to-day.

This is where the Salvation Army and the whole Rotorua community can lend a helping hand.

Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal. Photo / File
Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal. Photo / File

Today, the Rotorua Daily Post, with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM, launches its annual Christmas Appeal.

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From now until December 20, the team will be seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army Foodbank continue its good work throughout the Christmas period and into 2020.

Over the past year, the Salvation Army has supported more than 600 families and provided about 200 food parcels to those in need every quarter.

Foods including tinned baked beans, soup and spaghetti, plus staples such as pasta and rice were always welcome along with anything else people were willing to give.

Kylie Overbye, Constable Marc Van Krieken, The Hits local host Paul Hickey, Salvation Army Rotorua lieutenant Ralph Overbye and Kat Hicks after the 2017 appeal. Photo / File
Kylie Overbye, Constable Marc Van Krieken, The Hits local host Paul Hickey, Salvation Army Rotorua lieutenant Ralph Overbye and Kat Hicks after the 2017 appeal. Photo / File

Corps officers Kylie and Ralph Overbye described themselves as the "stewards" of the foodbank vessel, guiding it to get food to those who needed it.

The appeal was of huge importance to the charity because it allowed it to provide anyone in need over the Christmas period with food but also kept foodbank stocks high throughout the year.

More often than not, people came to them in desperate need of food, Kylie said.

Being able to provide them with this was often an "entry point" into getting to understand the challenges and reasons behind their need and lending a further helping hand, she said.

The food donated through the appeal goes towards creating Christmas hampers for those in need. Any money donated will be used to buy more food.

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Any gifts donated were given to families for their children.

The Salvation Army asked that gifts be brought in unwrapped, so parents can be provided with wrapped paper to get the special feeling of wrapping them up themselves.

Christmas and the festive season always put a lot of pressure on low-income families, so being able to provide food, gifts and Christmas hampers was a godsend, Kylie said.

Christine Hands is a regular Christmas appeal contributor. Photo / File
Christine Hands is a regular Christmas appeal contributor. Photo / File

Kylie said it was always nice seeing what looked like "a weight come off their shoulders" when a person received a special hamper for their family.

"Delight, joy and sometimes tears" would follow, she said.

Last year's appeal raised a whopping estimated $63,279 worth of food and gifts, with the food count total coming to an estimated 22,136 items.

Ralph said it was wonderful to see how much the Rotorua community bound together to support those who needed it.

This year, the charity wanted to work harder to seek and reach out to those in need who did not usually ask for help.

An extra-special part of this year's appeal was that the Salvation Army was opening its new wrap-around centre on Pukuatua St.

Described as a "community hub", the Overbyes hope they can make it shine this Christmas and create positive memories for many families.

A plan is in the works to have two community events at the new centre for families to make decorations, write Christmas cards and have a bit of a "Christmas at the Sallies", Kylie said.

The centre will create "more capacity to help people, have more staff on-site and provide a better wrap-around service in one place".

After its roaring success last year, another Fill the Bus event will take place on December 4.

Moana Houkamau (left) and Danielle Porteous' dress-ups were a hit at last year's Fill the Bus. Photo / File
Moana Houkamau (left) and Danielle Porteous' dress-ups were a hit at last year's Fill the Bus. Photo / File

The bus will travel around the city so locals can fill it with canned goods.

The 2018 Fill the Bus event saw 5844 food items donated from schools, workplaces and members of the community.

Rotorua Daily Post editor Scott Inglis said the team was thrilled to be able to get involved and support the Salvation Army for another successful appeal.

"They do such incredible work in our community helping so many people and families in need. We look forward to getting involved and collecting as much as we can this year.

"A small gesture like a can of food can go such a long way. I encourage people to give what they can."

The Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal runs from now until December 20.

How to donate:

Non-perishable goods can be dropped off at:

Rotorua Daily Post - 1143 Hinemoa St, Rotorua between 9am and 4pm

Salvation Army Corps - Pukuatua St

Monetary donations can be made to the Salvation Army Rotorua Corps bank account: 020 4160 024233 00