It has been one week since the launch of the Rotorua Daily Post 2020 Christmas Appeal and so far the Rotorua community has been generous as ever.
This year, the six-week appeal for the Salvation Army Foodbank aims to collect enough donated food to fill 200 parcels for those most in need this Christmas.
During the first week several local businesses and organisations, including Ranolf Medical Centre, Hume Pine Rotorua and the Ngongotahā Medical Centre, have put up their hands to collect non-perishable foods for donation to the cause.
Donations have also rolled in from members of the public keen to lend a helping hand.
Rotorua Salvation Army corps officer Kylie Overbye said it was great to see the generous spirit of the Rotorua community remained intact, despite what had been a tough year for many.
"It's been a good week, there have been a number of organisations indicating they want to do something or are in the process of organising a collection," she said.
"That's really encouraging in the first week because we understand it's a challenging year and we don't have expectations of seeing what we've seen in previous years.
"We do encourage those who are in a position to donate to do so because it is important. A little bit of extra food can make such a big difference to families in need."
Ranolf Medical Centre are running a Fill the Caravan food drive after the Salvation Army loaned them a caravan to help with administering flu shots during the lockdown. Overbye said it was always nice to see the different, creative ways people got behind the appeal.
"It's a really cool idea, they're encouraging their patients to bring something in if they can. All these businesses, like the medical centres, have had a tough year too so it was really good to be able to lend the caravan to them."
Rotorua Salvation Army Community Ministries team leader Tania Hore said there were many people in need of a helping hand this year who may have never expected to be in that position.
"There was one older lady and she's been donating regularly to the Salvation Army but during Covid, for the first time, she needed help. It has caught people unaware, nobody expected this year to be like it has.
"For those who are in a position to give, it makes you feel good, it's nice to give and know you're helping someone who really needs it," she said.
The parcels, put together to include a variety of foods, helped families deal with the pressure of Christmas.
Overbye said every donation, big or small, made a difference. Even one can of food went a long way for those in need.
"Even if they bring one can, that's one meal for someone. If 10 people bring in one can, you've got the makings of a good food parcel started."
Fill the Bus returns after record-breaking 2019
One of the highlights of the annual Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal is the Fill the Bus event led by The Hits Rotorua with support from the Rotorua Daily Post.
This year's Fill the Bus will be held on December 2. Last year the event saw a whopping 7166 items, worth about $14,332, donated.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Ritchies have donated the use of a bus, which will make its way around the city collecting non-perishable food items over 12 hours.
The Hits announcer Paul Hickey said Fill the Bus was an event he looked forward to being a part of each year.
"This is the sixth year we've done it and over the 12 hours, we'll hit a whole lot of shopping centres and supermarkets, and of course the schools," he said.
"The schools are the big supporters - when we pull up to a school the kids are so excited to come and check out the bus. The bus starts the day empty and always finishes nice and full."
Hickey said the community support for Fill the Bus was always "massive".
"The schools are the driving force and everywhere we go there are always people showing up who love seeing the bus fill out during the day.
"You always hear great stories from people - sometimes those who have the least to give are the ones who give the most - and the reasons why they do it."
The schedule for this year's Fill the Bus is still being established. Keep an eye on the Rotorua Daily Post and tune in to The Hits for when it is announced.