Local pre-schoolers have partied in the Christmas spirit while helping bring joy to families in need.

Rotorua HomeBased Childcare held its annual Christmas party at the Linton Park Community Centre this week.

The children had a puppet show, bouncy castles and a shared dinner, as well as receiving presents from "Santa's helper" as Santa wasn't able to make it.

And on top of all the fun they raised a haul of non-perishable food items for the Rotorua Daily Post Salvation Army Foodbank Christmas Appeal.

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Manager Katrina van der Gulik said the children collected about 35 items of food.

"We know there are a lot of families struggling, particularly this time of year. It's nice to be able to do something, even if it's not much."

She said it could be hard for young children to understand that not everyone's families lived like their own.

"The children learn that Christmas isn't such a happy time for everyone, that there are children in Rotorua that won't get presents for Christmas because their families don't have the money to buy any, and some families don't have enough money to put nice food on the table.

"We encourage anyone who is in a position to help out, to do so. If everyone donated one item of food, then collectively we're helping out a lot of families," she said.

Make your donations of non-perishable food at the Rotorua Daily Post office: 1143 Hinemoa St or the Salvation Army's Community Ministries, 1188 Amohia St.

You can also donate money at BNZ: The Salvation Army Rotorua, Reference: Foodbank, Acc: 02-0416-0024233-00. If any organisations, schools or individuals are organising a fundraising event, please let us know by emailing news@dailypost.co.nz or contacting reporter Kyra Dawson on (07) 349 7477.