The Rotorua community has united to gather close to $4000 in donations at the halfway point of the Christmas Appeal.

The tally as at midday on Friday showed $3904 worth of donations, including gifts and cans, had been given to the Salvation Army as a part of the Rotorua Daily Post appeal.

This was more than double the amount donated by the same point last year.

Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye said this much support in November alone showed the "generous heart of our community".


She said the donations were tracking "really well" and she was so grateful for the community support.

The appeal has been challenging for the Salvation Army team because they are still moving into their new building and waiting on consents to be able to open the doors.

The team was working "exceptionally hard" to ensure everything would be ready for next week's Fill the Bus event, Overbye said.

Fill the Bus was always the pinnacle of the entire appeal.

A collaboration between The Hits Rotorua, the Daily Post and the Salvation Army, it takes place on Wednesday, December 4 from 8am to 6pm.

Hundreds from the community donated as much as they could to fill a bus with non-perishable food, gifts and treats for the Salvation Army Food and Christmas parcels.

This year, the Salvation Army's Barnaby Bear mascot and even the Grinch would be riding the bus.

Overbye said Fill the Bus always "amped up" the appeal because everyone was so pleased to get involved.


"It's just a really, really fun day."

Last year, Fill the Bus alone saw more than $11,000 worth of donations brought onboard. That was a whopping 5844 items.

Overbye was hoping for a similar amount this year, but at the end of the day, it was about the "heart of the giving, not how much".

She was starting to get excited for the day they could give the parcels out and said they were hoping to bless many people who had never been helped before.

"We just want to be able to help them live stress-free for a few days at Christmas time."

Fill the Bus will visit eight public spots this year, spending about half an hour at each.

The public spots included the Redwood Shopping Centre, Pak'nSave, Skyline carpark and Countdown Fairy Springs along with others.

The rest of the time will be spent at various schools and businesses.

The Hits Rotorua host Paul Hickey said this was the fifth year for the Fill The Bus, and "it just gets better every year".

"This is one of the days I really look forward to, there is so much positivity and goodwill in our community and you feel it all right through the day.

"We've had such a great response again from the business and school communities, that actually putting the schedule together has been pretty tough."

He said the bus had visited eight schools last year, but this year they have to try to get to 12.

"It will be busy, but so worth it."

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