The common theme of this year's Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal has been a level of generosity far beyond what was expected.
The annual Ngongotahā Volunteer Fire Service food collection was no different.
The Christmas Appeal aims to help the Salvation Army give out food parcels to families in need this Christmas, as well as restock the foodbank for 2021, and for the past five years the Ngongotahā fire service has more than played its part.
On Monday night the fire crew, with Salvation Army employees and volunteers, cruised through the streets of Ngongotahā, lights and sirens going, collecting food from locals.
This year's event saw 1857 items of food donated, up from about 1500 last year.
Station officer Paul Osborne said it was an evening the whole crew looked forward to every year.
"We were approached by Salvation Army and everyone enjoyed it so we've kept doing it," he said.
"We find it a good cause to get behind at this time of year and despite the weather on Monday we had a very good response from the public."
Osborne said he was "blown away" by the response but it was typical of the Ngongotahā community to get behind a cause like this.
"I think there are a lot of people out there struggling and even in the lower socio-economic parts of Ngongotahā we had a really good turnout, they seem to be more generous than the flasher areas, so to speak."
Osborne said one of the highlights of the event was seeing the excitement of children getting up close to the fire engine.
"They love it, they race up to the side of the road to meet us, wanting to see the truck and jump on the truck for photos. It was good, lots of smiles on the kids' faces.
"We can't wait to do it again next year."
Salvation Army corps officer Ralph Overbye was out helping with the collection in Ngongotahā and said it was encouraging to see so much support from the community.
"Some of them hand over quite a large amount of food," he said.
"The families just love coming out and seeing the fire truck. It was never about the number of items collected, we weren't quite sure how it would go, but we were very pleasantly surprised."
The record collection came the same week as the Fill the Bus record collection which saw more than 9000 items collected, compared with about 7000 the year before.