The last six weeks have brought out the best in the Rotorua community as businesses and individuals all backed the annual Rotorua Daily Post Christmas appeal.

Here are some of the highlights of the appeal.

Week One: November 10 - 18

After launching the appeal in support of the Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank donations were slow to start off but then began to trickle in.

Margaret Topless donates to the appeal every year and 2018 was no different as she took cans of food and dried goods to the Salvation Army on November 13.

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Margaret Topless donates to the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal every year. Photo / Andrew Warner
Margaret Topless donates to the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal every year. Photo / Andrew Warner

Before the week was out local schools said they would support the appeal by collecting for Fill the Bus and staff in the Rotorua Daily Post office lead by example by bringing non-perishable food to donate.

Week Two: November 19 - 25

In the second week of the appeal, the Rotorua Daily Post delved deeper into the work of the Salvation Army Rotorua Foodbank.

Rotorua Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said more people than ever were expected to need help this festive season.

Salvation Army Foodbank manager Tania Hore. Photo / Andrew Warner
Salvation Army Foodbank manager Tania Hore. Photo / Andrew Warner

Lynmore School also revealed they would support the appeal by offering entry to the Year 5 student production for a donated can of food.

Lynmore School councillors back the Christmas Appeal. Photo / Stephen Parker
Lynmore School councillors back the Christmas Appeal. Photo / Stephen Parker

Steve Chadwick also expressed support for the appeal in week two and said it was an "easy way for Rotorua residents to share the love".

Countdown and First Credit Union also backed the cause by collecting cans.

First Credit Union's Rotorua branch manager Anne Hunter with some of the items donated to their Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. Photo / Ben Fraser
First Credit Union's Rotorua branch manager Anne Hunter with some of the items donated to their Salvation Army Christmas Appeal. Photo / Ben Fraser

Week Three: November 26 - December 2

At the halfway point for the appeal the Rotorua Daily Post introduced a local foodbank volunteer Jenny Cairns and more businesses announced they would support the cause.

Jenny Cairns volunteers once a week at the Salvation Army Rotorua foodbank. Photo / Zizi Sparks
Jenny Cairns volunteers once a week at the Salvation Army Rotorua foodbank. Photo / Zizi Sparks

and Scope Cafe both announced they would offer their services for donations to the appeal.

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Scope offered a coffee for a can on one day while Ogo offered rides for donations.

OGO sales and marketing manager Anna Rodgers. Photo / Stephen Parker
OGO sales and marketing manager Anna Rodgers. Photo / Stephen Parker

At the end of the week we announced the plan for the annual Fill the Bus food drive which was in its fourth year.

NZME brand engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris, (left) with Paul Hickey from The Hits and Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army. Photo / Ben Fraser
NZME brand engagement co-ordinator Bryce Morris, (left) with Paul Hickey from The Hits and Ralph Overbye from the Salvation Army. Photo / Ben Fraser

Week Four: December 3 - 9

This week was all about Fill the Bus which was held on December 5. The day before the food drive Skyline offered gondola rides for food donations

Rachel Leinhardt was excited for people to ride the gondolas while giving back to the community. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rachel Leinhardt was excited for people to ride the gondolas while giving back to the community. Photo / Ben Fraser

day made a huge contribution to the overall appeal collection. The big green bus made its way around the city collecting non-perishable food items over 12 hours.

It stopped at more than 20 business and schools and a total of 5844 items or $10,852 worth was donated. It topped last years' efforts when 5357 items were collected.

To round the week off volunteer firefighters at Mamaku and Ngongotahā braved the weather to do their own street collection.

Week Five: December 10 - 16

With just two weeks to go donations continued to flow and the Salvation Army said they were thrilled with the response which had seen 10,568 items donated by December 10.

Long-time Salvation Army supporter Christine Hands again showed support by collecting for the appeal out of the Ngongotahā Medical Centre.

Christine Hands is a regular Christmas appeal contributor. Photo / Ben Fraser
Christine Hands is a regular Christmas appeal contributor. Photo / Ben Fraser

Sport Bay of Plenty showed even small businesses could make a big difference.

Heidi Lichtwark (left), Lena Kairau, Deb Garea, Melanie Short and other staff at Sport Bay of Plenty donated to the foodbank. Photo / George Novak
Heidi Lichtwark (left), Lena Kairau, Deb Garea, Melanie Short and other staff at Sport Bay of Plenty donated to the foodbank. Photo / George Novak

Week Six: December 17 - 22

At the start of the final week of the appeal the item count was 14,874 and Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye said the generosity of the community was amazing.

Salvation Army volunteer Joshua Phillips with some of the Christmas cakes donated to the appeal. Photo / Stephen Parker
Salvation Army volunteer Joshua Phillips with some of the Christmas cakes donated to the appeal. Photo / Stephen Parker

As the appeal hit crunch time the Salvation Army shared tips about budgeting for the holiday period. The organisation runs a life skills course with a budgeting element in it.

The tips included sharing Christmas Day expenses, buying items gradually, running Secret Santa instead of buying for the whole family and making your own presents or buying from thrift stores.

Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore. Photo / Stephen Parker

Throughout the Rotorua Daily Post appeal, Kmart Rotorua has also run an appeal collecting toys for the Salvation Army. Those toys will go out with some of the food parcels this year to brighten some of the recipients' Christmas.

Rotorua Kmart staff around the wishing tree Olly Curtis (left), Kim Mulligan, Louie Walker and Estelle Smith. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotorua Kmart staff around the wishing tree Olly Curtis (left), Kim Mulligan, Louie Walker and Estelle Smith. Photo / Ben Fraser

As the final week of the Christmas Appeal approached the halfway point, Salvation Army volunteers put together 120 food hampers for distribution over Christmas. Paengaroa-based Comvita donated about 250 pots of honey to go in the hampers.

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

Today the annual Christmas appeal comes to a close with the announcement Rotorua Trust will donate $10,000 to it, and by extension the Salvation Army Foodbank.

Kylie and Ralph Overbye of the Salvation Army said the appeal had gone well.

"It's been an exciting and full-on six weeks and it's gone very well. It's been an absolute joy to see Rotorua rallying together to bring support, relief and hope to families this Christmas and beyond.

Salvation Army Corps Officer Ralph Overbye collects donations from the offices. Photo / Stephen Parker
Salvation Army Corps Officer Ralph Overbye collects donations from the offices. Photo / Stephen Parker

"We're delighted with the response from the community. Thank you to everyone for taking the journey with us."

The Christmas Appeal ran from November 10 and finishes today . It is run by the Rotorua Daily Post, in conjunction with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits Rotorua 97.5FM. The Rotorua Daily Post hopes to announce the final tally on Monday December 24.