Rotorua Weekender

Eighth Fill the Bus campaign ready to roll

- Shauni James

Paul Hickey, the local host on The Hits Rotorua, has been part of Fill the Bus since it started, and it continues to be one of his favourite days of the year.

This is the eighth year of Fill the Bus, which will be taking place on Wednesday, December 7 and is gathering donations for the Rotorua Daily

Post Christmas Appeal, held in combinatio­n with the Rotorua Weekender and The Hits 97.5.

The bus will travel around the city so locals can fill it with canned and non-perishable goods for the Rotorua Salvation Army Foodbank.

Paul says the event came about through having a few things to do with the Salvation Army in different capacities at the time.

“The discussion came up about how Christmas is the hardest time of the year with many people coming to them for help. We decided Fill the Bus was a great way to help them out.”

He says the school visits are a particular­ly special part of the day.

“All those young ones who feel like they are making a difference to the community — and they are. Seeing the kids and their reactions is great.

“For a lot of them it is an opportunit­y to learn too. I know a lot of the schools do use it as an educationa­l mechanism to highlight parts of the community they may not be able to relate to.”

He says schools often take part and help fill the bus in different ways, and a nice memory he has is of a couple times when Malfroy Primary has songs for the Fill the Bus team when they arrived — “It’s getting into that festive spirit as well.

“Overall, I think it shows the caring spirit of the Rotorua community. I think it does solidify or confirm that most people do care about everyone else.”

Paul says over the past seven years Fill the Bus has collected more than $85,000 worth of food for the cause, and the aim this year is to crack the $100,000 mark.

“I think the awareness has really grown over the years, and people know Fill the Bus is happening.

“It’s become a staple around this time of year and people expect it to happen.

“This year I’ll be doing my show live all day from on the bus.”

The Fill the Bus schedule is yet to be confirmed. Keep an eye on our social medias for the schedule.

 ?? Photo / Andrew Warner ?? The Hits Rotorua host Paul Hickey is excited for this year’s appeal and Fill the Bus.
Photo / Andrew Warner The Hits Rotorua host Paul Hickey is excited for this year’s appeal and Fill the Bus.

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