All hands are on deck in the Overbye family, as the Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal heads into its final weeks.

While most kids are slowing down for the year as exams finish, holidays begin and daylight hours lengthen, Kylie and Ralph Overbye's four kids are helping their busy parents where they can.

Levi Overbye, 14, has been volunteering with the Christmas Appeal for three years.

Levi Overbye, 14, has been volunteering at the Rotorua Foodbank at Christmas for the last three years. Photo / Samantha Olley
Levi Overbye, 14, has been volunteering at the Rotorua Foodbank at Christmas for the last three years. Photo / Samantha Olley

"Lifting, carrying and sorting, I do a bit of everything. I also do a bit of collecting on the streets."

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He said, "the good feeling" was what kept him coming back.

"Just knowing that I can do little things around here, just knowing that I am helping."

Volunteering with the appeal has been an eye-opener for the young teen.

"The things that people give - sometimes it's a lot, what they can afford. Then some people can't give. I've knocked on doors of people who say 'oh we're struggling ourselves'."

He said the appeal has proven to him "every little bit helps".

"If they can donate one or two cans, some else has got a meal. Before I thought that it was just a few people who gave a lot but I have realised it is everyone giving a small portion that makes the difference."

Kylie Overbye is a proud mum.

"He is a good leader, he sets a good example."

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Her children are not the only ones who volunteer during the campaign.

"We do have some of our youth and families, there are not very many of them but they might bring their friends at Christmas time which is really cool. We are also in the process of engaging Rotorua Boys' High School to see if we can get a little bit of extra help in the coming weeks.

"It is really good when the young men get on board because they are so much more physically able sometimes," she said with a giggle.

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

The Salvation Army runs the appeal to build its food bank for the holiday period and upcoming year and to prepare 120 Christmas parcels for families in need.

"That takes time to put together and to sort because some families are small, some families are large. So you have got to get the ratios right."

The Rotorua Salvation Army is in the process of opening its new Pukuatua St premises.

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The building, previously Van Dyks Megastore, was taken over and has been redesigned to become the Salvation Army hub for the city.

It is not completely operational at this stage, but Sunday church services, the Family Store and the foodbank are now in action.

People can come and collect items from the food bank every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or come for Sunday church weekly.

NZME co-ordinator Bryce Morris, The Hits announcer Paul Hickey, Rotorua Daily Post appeal co-ordinator Caroline Fleming and Salvation Army's Kylie Overbye. Photo / File
NZME co-ordinator Bryce Morris, The Hits announcer Paul Hickey, Rotorua Daily Post appeal co-ordinator Caroline Fleming and Salvation Army's Kylie Overbye. Photo / File

This year's Fill the Bus event, run by NZME to support the Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal, broke the record for the largest haul of donations ever received, with a whopping 7166 items, worth about $14,332.

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

The excess amount meant more could be gifted to smaller communities such as Murupara, which needed extra help, Kylie Overbye said.