[On left] Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson, Tranzit’s Jenna Snelgrove and MORE FM Wairarapa’s Allison James, and [on right] Property Brokers Masterton area manager Brent Woodmass, Masterton District Council’s Andrea Jackson and MORE FM Wairarapa’s Wendy Morrison, with sponsors and other councillors on the bus. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

For the first time, Pack the Bus is collecting Wairarapa-wide.

After the success of last year’s inaugural collection in Masterton when the entire bus was filled, it was decided to expand across the whole region and spread the Christmas joy to more families with an even bigger collection, Tranzit Coachlines Wairarapa manager Jenna Snelgrove said.

The idea of this campaign is to pack the Tranzit Coachlines bus full of donated Christmas gifts and non-perishable food items which will be donated to the Wairarapa food banks, who in turn distribute them to individuals and families in need this Christmas.

The collection runs for three weeks, stopping at several events in Masterton, Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Martinborough.

In addition, separate ‘park-ups’ will be held at schools and the bus will make a guest appearance at the Masterton, Greytown and Martinborough Christmas Parades with Santa at the wheel.

Snelgrove said last year, the collection started slowly but once people got in the spirit, the donations kept coming in.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson was at the launch to add her donation of three books written by Wairarapa authors and a counting sheep game that featured numbers and colours in te reo Maori.

Last year’s delivery volunteers said the Christmas hampers they delivered were well received.

“The generosity of Masterton people was evident, and the usefulness and quality of gifts was impressive,” Snelgrove said.

“I have not had any negative feedback from any family as they were all excited and grateful to receive food and gifts for their families over a time that is a financial strain on them.

“All of the food was basic and practical so was used and not wasted, some was even a treat to the families – bacon and ham.”

Members of the public can find out where the Pack the Bus “parking-up” locations will be at: https://www.facebook.com/MediaWorksWairarapa/

Bus collection points

Friday, November 29, 10am-1pm: The Hive Event at CLM Masterton; 1.30pm-2.30pm: Countdown Masterton;

Saturday, November 30, 10am-1pm Carterton Christmas Parade;

Thursday, December 5, 8.30am-10am: Carterton Events Centre;

Friday, December 6, 1.30am-2pm, Martinborough Square;

Saturday, December 7, 1.30am-1pm: Masterton Christmas Parade; 2pm-4pm: St Teresa’s School Christmas Market;

Sunday, December 8, 10am-1pm: Mitre 10 MEGA Masterton; 3.30pm-7pm: Carterton Summer Street Party;

Monday, December 9, 8.30am-10am: Supervalue Featherston;

Tuesday, December 10, 8.30am-10.30am: FreshChoice Greytown.