An exciting day that sees food donations stack up on a bus thanks to the community's generosity is just around the corner.
As part of the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal, The Hits Fill the Bus is being held for the seventh year next Tuesday, December 7.
Fill the Bus is a one-day event to support the Salvation Army Foodbank.
For 10 hours the bus goes all over Rotorua, visiting schools, businesses and shopping centres, and slowly but surely the bus gets filled up with non-perishable food donations from locals.
Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said, "I can't believe 'Fill the Bus' is nearly here. It's come around again so fast".
"I love Fill the Bus because it benefits so many people in so many ways.
"The schools that participate teach our children the responsibility we all have of caring for each other in our community.
"The kids love being able to help. They love to know they're helping other boys and girls, mums and dads."
She said Fill the Bus helped the Salvation Army Rotorua access resources to help families in need, not only over Christmas but beyond.
The Hits Rotorua presenter Paul Hickey said he was pretty excited and looking forward to it.
"And to be able to pull this off after the year we've had in the community, I'm looking forward to seeing the smiles and the generosity come to the fore once again."
Paul said this year they, unfortunately, had to restrict access to the bus itself.
"Normally people love to come on board to see just how full the bus is getting and it is always a pretty impressive sight.
"Our team will be maintaining social distancing at all times including when we visit the schools, and we will have tables for donations to be placed upon so we're not needing to be passing items with close contact."
The bus will be at a number of public locations in the hours before and after school, and also for a short period in the middle of the day in town.
"Just look for our itinerary [available on The Hits Rotorua website] and pop down and see us with your donation. Even just one can is a help towards our overall goal."
When asked why it was important to do this mahi during this time, Paul said for him it was almost about maintaining as much normality as possible.
"This year has been anything but normal, and for many in our community, it has been a real struggle.
"By choosing to push to make this happen, we can help make sure that the services the Salvation Army Foodbank provide can keep up with the demand from those who need it."
Kaitao Intermediate is one of the schools taking part, and sports coordinator Shannon Brake said they signed up to support the cause.
"It's a tough time, even more so with Covid. It's good to support whānau who need it."
St Michael's Catholic School principal Rachael McLanachan said they saw lots of families in their area who had really struggled this year, and thought the school would do its part to help out as best it could.
Rebecca Brake, Lakes Performing Arts Centre director of education and community engagement, said this year would be the centre's first year getting involved with Fill the Bus.
"We are a community centre and feel it's important to get involved in these community drives.
"Fill The Bus is a great initiative and particularly after yet another difficult year, more people than ever require an extra helping hand."
She said the Salvation Army did an amazing job providing food to those in our own community that needed some extra support.
"It's important to demonstrate to our students to support our community, to get involved and to support one another."
Rebecca said it was always pretty heartwarming to see how much had been donated on the day and to see everyone getting involved.
"If you have any non-perishable items you would like to contribute please feel free to drop them in advance to LPAC."
In last year's Fill the Bus event, the Rotorua community got behind the cause and donated 9376 items worth $18,752.