For many families, the winter season can be a harsh one and tight budgets can lead to difficult choices.

The Salvation Army launched its Winter Appeal on July 8, which ran until the end of the month.

Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye says the Salvation Army has had some great responses locally, with donations of winter warmers and some food coming in too.

"It's been wonderful to have the winter warmers to hand out to people who need it."

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She says there is still some of that stock onsite, so if people are in need of winter warmers, they can contact the local Community Ministries team for help.

"It's been a mild winter so far, but there are still cold days coming. We aren't through the winter challenges quite just yet."

Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye at the food bank. Photo / File
Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye at the food bank. Photo / File

And with this in mind, a number of schools and pre-schools locally have registered to participate in Watties Cans for Good.

Watties Cans for Good is a national can collection to help struggling families with food support.

Kylie says it is a fun and interactive way for the children to engage and learn about helping others.

"We've seen some really cool initiatives in past years where children have made sculptures with the cans and made trails etc.

"My boys get excited about it every year and love the feeling of knowing they are helping another child or family in need."

The event is running from August 5 to 16 and gives children the opportunity to help make a difference by collecting cans for The Salvation Army foodbanks - restocking shelves in the middle of the harsh winter period.

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All cans donated through Cans for Good will go into Salvation Army food parcels, enabling the children to make a direct and real difference to those in need in their local community during winter.

Those in Rotorua taking part include Ngongotaha School, St Mary's Catholic School, Ohana Kindy, Glenholme Primary School, Elstree Kindergarten, Eastern Suburbs Community Pre-school, and Beststart Lynmore.

Sheryl Todd, St Mary's Catholic School Room One teacher, says the class is taking part in Cans for God as part of its Student Volunteer Army activities.

She says they have put out a call for cans to be donated, and will be holding sporting events at the school where entry is by bringing a can.

Their aim is to get 1000 cans, and Sheryl says the class is hoping to volunteer at the Salvation Army for a day.

Rosie Lucich, 9, says they are collecting cans because they want to help get more food for the poor.

Neela Stephens, 10, thinks, "it will be a big help to everybody who doesn't get enough food".

Daksh Rokadia, 11, says holding the games around school means everyone can have fun while getting more cans as well.

Schools are encouraged to enter the Cans Construction competition to design something out of their cans also, and the best win prizes.

Salvation Army headquarters says New Zealanders have again demonstrated their generosity with this year's appeal.

Although the appeal officially ended on July 31, it is hoped people will still respond to the growing need people on low incomes have for basics such as food and heating.

Cans for Good has been running for 10 years and is an incredible support for the much-needed foodbanks.

"While we love fresh food donations, cans are the basis for the food we give to people needing a hand up.

"They are the staple of many meals, and are easy for us to stack and store at our foodbanks."

For those who do not have a local school or kindergarten collecting cans, they can help their local food bank appeal through Cans for Good bundle at www.foodbank.org.nz.