The common saying "third time lucky" did not apply yesterday as the fifth annual Fill the Bus can collection proved to be the luckiest yet.

The event broke the record for the largest haul of donations ever received, with a whopping 7166 items donated worth about $14,332.

These incredible figures more than doubled the amount collected in the first year of the event and beats last year's collection by more than 1000 donations.

Salvation Army's corps officer Kylie Overbye said although the city had its challenges, once it rallied together "we get on and do it".

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Fill the Bus 2019 final tally.
Fill the Bus 2019 final tally.

"This community is one that just keeps on giving!"

Overbye said she was thrilled with how much had been collected and was so thankful.

The bus, donated by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Ritchies, hit the streets from 8am yesterday, visiting a number of locations across the city to collect items for the Salvation Army foodbank.

Schools were a massive player in the event, putting on collection events and donating mammoth amounts.

At the halfway point of the day, the bus was already full and the team was forced to work out ways to continue their collection.

Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye with some of this year's Fill the Bus haul. Photo / Stephen Parker
Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye with some of this year's Fill the Bus haul. Photo / Stephen Parker

The route finished up about 6pm and all the goods were unloaded and counted at the Salvation Army.

Volunteer teams from Zorb and even Salvation Army clients came down to help unpack and sort the load from the bus.

The team preparing to unload the bus. Photo / Supplied
The team preparing to unload the bus. Photo / Supplied

Overbye said she had not been expecting so much for Fill the Bus and was shocked that it did so much better than last year, which she said was "outstanding".

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The huge haul was versatile with a lot of cans, treats, cereals and even baby formula.

Fill the Bus 2019 is here!

The excess amount meant more could be gifted to smaller communities like Murupara, that needed extra help, she said.

She was certain that the way the appeal was going meant the foodbank would be stocked for Christmas and into 2020.

Fill the Bus tally over the years.
Fill the Bus tally over the years.

The current total raised in donations from the Christmas Appeal was sitting close to $24,000.

The Hit's Rotorua presenter Paul Hickey, who spent most of the day on the bus, said he was "overwhelmed by the generosity" and stoked with the way everyone got involved.

He said the day had been up there with the best yet for the event and the number reflected that.

Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye was thrilled with how well the day went. Photo / Stephen Parker
Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye was thrilled with how well the day went. Photo / Stephen Parker

A personal highlight for Hickey was when a young girl made her dad bring her all the way to Mitre10 Mega with her cans as she was devastated that she had forgotten them at school.

"If that doesn't show the spirit of the day and how passionate the kids are, I don't know what does!"

Hickey said he was already looking forward to doing it all again next year.