6pm:

The bus is just leaving Westend New World, bound for its final stop - the Salvation Army church on Old Taupo Rd.

It will be there until about 7pm so there is still time to donate if you haven't already!

5.25pm

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CrossFit Rotorua members have provided a novel sight at the lastest Fill the Bus stop - doing a food running relay up the road to drop off their donations.

Coach Fallyn Flavell said the club was looking for a charity to donate its monthly "koha corner" to and when they saw the bus was stopping at nearby Countdown Fairy Springs, it was a perfect opportunity.

Crossfit Rotorua relay to help Fill the Bus

She said by doing the relay they were able to incorporate giving to the community into their gym workout.

5.03pm

Mayor Steve Chadwick, Countdown Fairy Springs staff and The Hits staff load donations from the supermarket and its customers. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Mayor Steve Chadwick, Countdown Fairy Springs staff and The Hits staff load donations from the supermarket and its customers. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Mayor Steve Chadwick has joined the bus at Countdown Fairy Springs, where the supermarket has made a generous donation of goods.

Store manager Steve Green said Countdown supported the Salvation Army nationally so it was important to support the Fill the Bus.

He said in addition to the boxes donated from the supermarket's stock there were also a few trolleys of food donated by customers.

The bus is filling up. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
The bus is filling up. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Meanwhile, CrossFit Rotorua members are about to begin a relay, carrying food items to the bus.

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It will be parked at Countdown until about 5.20pm, then moves on to Westend New World.

Everyone is welcome to head down and make a donation. All items go to the Salvation Army foodbank.

4.23pm:

The bus is now at Rotorua Central Mall.

Kimi Chater from Okere Falls Store has dropped off food collected from the cafe's customers and staff.

"We really love supporting the community and it's a fabulous idea.

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"We had a box out the front with a flyer ... customers and staff dropped food off all week."

Next stop, Countdown Fairy Springs at 5pm.

3.45pm

The staff at Pak'nSave get behind the appeal. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
The staff at Pak'nSave get behind the appeal. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

The bus is at Pak'nSave, where it is receiving a warm welcome.

Store manager Colin Close said the store was involved last year and was keen to be a part of the day again.

"It's just nice to be involved in something that helps support people in need at Christmas and spread the Christmas cheer."

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3.17pm:

The bus is filling up! PHOTO/BEN FRASER
The bus is filling up! PHOTO/BEN FRASER

The bus has just stopped off at Te Ngae shops, where Dawn Wilschefski was among those dropping off food items.

"I always make a point of donating at times like this when I know that there are people in need," she said.

"I assume that Rotorua has the same needs as the place where I moved from last year."

Gail Wilson and Emily Thompson, 2, talk about donating to the Fill the Bus campaign for the Salvation Army foodbank.

.15pm

Excited Glenholme School pupils had a line-up of full trolleys waiting as the bus turned up this afternoon.

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It was all the result of a one-day collection, said principal Nancy Macfarlane.

Glenholme School pupils were excited to give back to their community. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Glenholme School pupils were excited to give back to their community. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

It was the second lot of "giving back" to the community the school had done recently, following a mufti day two weeks ago, with the proceeds from that also going to the Salvation Army.

1.20pm:

Lucy Powell 9, at Otonga School. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Lucy Powell 9, at Otonga School. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

As the bus rolled up to Otonga Primary School the kids had two trolleys full of canned goods ready and waiting.

The Sallies crew had arrived before the bus and were dancing to Christmas tunes outside the school to spread to cheer.

Pupil Jane Keir, 11, said this was her first Christmas in Rotorua as she and her family had moved up from Christchurch after the recent earthquakes.

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She said today had cheered her up as it was Wacky Wednesday at the school and it meant she got to dress in her Christmas gear.

"It's that time of year to dress up Christmassy. . . I love Christmas it's really fun, I think it's important to help people in need when you can," she said.

School principal Linda Woon said they gave to a foodbank every year.

"We want children to be thinking about not just themselves but others as well," she said.

12.20pm:

The bus is now at Mitre 10 Mega for those wanting to head down and donate.

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Store manager Warren Rehu said the business had always been great supporters of its community.

"We always try to get into the spirit of things."

He said there had been a massive collection among staff today, ahead of the bus arriving.

Kids at Westbrook School donating.
Kids at Westbrook School donating.

Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye said the appeal had been going really well.

Speaking to the Rotorua Daily Post from the stop at Trade Central, Mr Overbye said the response from schools was particularly impressive.

"We loved going into the schools and the kids were fantastic."

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Mr Overbye said while the bus was getting full there was still a long way to go and he encouraged those who hadn't already donated to head along to one of this afternoon's stops.

"Every can and every donation does make a difference. A little bit goes a long way."

One school taking part was Westbrook School where Hariata Epiha-Rossiter ,8, was among the kids donating.

She said some kids didn't have that much food so it was good to donate.

BIG SMILES: Te Awhina Thompson from the Salvation Army with Christine Hands from Ngongotaha Medical Centre. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
BIG SMILES: Te Awhina Thompson from the Salvation Army with Christine Hands from Ngongotaha Medical Centre. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

11.30:

There have been more bags of food loaded on to the bus at its Ngongotaha stop.

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Ngongotaha Medical Centre's Christine Hands said she had been involved in donating to the appeal for the past four years.

"It is something I am passionate about.

"So many people out there can't afford Christmas and presents."

She said people from the Ngongotaha community had been coming in and dropping off items, which were loaded onto the bus.

The bus will now visit a couple of schools before the next public collection outside Mitre 10 Mega at Trade Central between 12.20pm and 12.50pm.

10.40am:

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The bus is at Kaharoa School and the children brought out a great haul of food to add to the collection.

The children said they wanted to help the less fortunate for Christmas.

The next stop will be Ngongotaha Village, which the bus will reach shortly.

DONATION: Kaharoa School students have donated to Fill the Bus PHOTO/BEN FRASER
DONATION: Kaharoa School students have donated to Fill the Bus PHOTO/BEN FRASER

10am:

The next chance for the public to donate to Fill the Bus is at Ngongotaha, where the bus will be parked along the main road between 11am and 11.20am.

It has just left Haupapa St, where the Rotorua Daily Post caught up with the Shine PR team who have done their bit to help fill the bus.

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BAGS OF FOOD: From left, Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army, Julie Fiddes from Shine PR, Kat Hicks from The Hits and Stacey Main from Shine PR. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
BAGS OF FOOD: From left, Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army, Julie Fiddes from Shine PR, Kat Hicks from The Hits and Stacey Main from Shine PR. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

Julie Fiddes said the whole team had brought it items to "come together and fill the bus".

"If there is a time of year you are going to give then this should be the time of year to make everyone's year a little bit happier."

She said it Christmas was a time of year where people did realise how lucky they were, so it was nice to be able to help others.

9.30:

Malfroy School has got in behind the event bringing along items to donate to the appeal, saying it is all about getting children involved with giving.

9am:

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The bus is now on its way to Malfroy Primary School, with the next public collection at 9.40am outside the old Library building on Haupapa St.

Teia Ingram has just donated items to the Fill the Bus campaign at the Western Heights Shops on Brookland Rd.

Ms Ingram said she decided to donate because it was a good cause. Each year, her nana in Palmerston North goes to the Salvation Army Christmas Lunch and she wanted to give back.

DONATING: Teia Ingram donates some items. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
DONATING: Teia Ingram donates some items. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

8.15am:

The bus is parked up at St Andrews shops. Kids have been calling in on the way to school to make their donations.

Kat Hicks from The Hits said they have had their first cash donation.

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In five minutes the bus will be heading up to the Brookland Rd shops in Western Heights.

7.17am:

The first donation is in and we're waiting for more down at the Redwood Centre.

The bus will be at the Redwood Centre until 7.40am and will then head to St Andrew's Shopping Centre.

Lynmore locals Warwick and Janet Brown have just come down on their bikes with bags of food for the appeal.

Mrs Brown said she thought the bus was a "novel way" to get the community involved.

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"I thought it was fabulous that the bus was coming around."

Earlier:

How much food can you fit in a bus? Rotorua will find out today.

The Fill the Bus 12-hour food drive, led by The Hits 97.5, with support from the Rotorua Daily Post, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Reesby Buses, is taking place today.

The bus will start collecting food at the Redwood Shopping Centre at 7.10am finishing off at the Salvation Army on Old Taupo Rd at 6.50pm.

There will be 21 stops throughout the day including six at schools.

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Paul Hickey from The Hits said last year's drive ended with more than $7000 of non-perishable items donated - and he's expecting this year's to be even bigger.

Check out www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz, the Rotorua Daily Post's Facebook page and its Twitter account today for updates.