Rotorua is being encouraged to share the love and cheer to children in other countries this Christmas by filling up shoe boxes with items which will bring them joy.

Operation Christmas Child is now under way for 2019, with the community able to pick up shoe boxes and start collecting items.

Boxes today contain something to wear, something educational, something for hygiene, something to play with, something special and something to love.

Jan Bellingham, co-ordinator for Rotorua, says the boxes are going to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and Cambodia.

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She says there were about 600 boxes collected from Rotorua last year, and they were hoping to get more this year.

"There's been so many exciting stories coming back of families' lives being changed."

Jan says the reactions when children receive there boxes varies, and includes being completely overwhelmed, not knowing what to do with the box as they have not received anything like it before, and over-the-moon excitement.

She says they are incredibly grateful for the boxes.

"They often feel overwhelmed that someone cared enough to give them a gift."

Rotorua's Helen Harris says she encouraged her children - Adele, 6, and Harry, 9 - to do the Christmas shoe boxes as she feels it is important they learn about the world around them.

People can pick up boxes from Talk Tech Now and have until the end of October to fill the boxes and have them dropped off.