Auckland City Mission sees huge numbers needing Christmas help

The Auckland City Mission says it's never had such a high demand for its Christmas food parcels and presents.

For the past few weeks it has been helping hundreds of families every day.

The city missioner is thankful to the generosity of Kiwis who have helped make it happen.

It's kind Kiwis like Peter Patheja that are helping bring Christmas to those who are struggling. He's just one of many who have donated food and presents to the Auckland City Mission this Christmas.

"We should definitely help those who are in need, and Christmas is a great time to remember that and definitely give back to the community if you can," he says.

City missioner Chris Farrelly says they've never seen demand so high.

"We've had over 4000 families come through in the last three weeks.

"Majority are from south Auckland, from the West, from the inner, from North. Some families have come as far away as the Waikato and Northland."

He says they're mainly working families.

"We've seen food poverty really grow in our country this year. Because the rental costs are so high, the amount left for food is very minimal."

They've handed out more thousand food parcels over the past few weeks - more than what they accounted for, but no one was turned away.

Mr Farrelly says what's stood out for him this year is the generosity of Kiwis who helped make it happen.

"Wherever you go you're seeing people respond to their fellow New Zealanders at this time of year.

"I'm proud to be a New Zealander."

This year the mission says it's seen more families choosing not to buy Christmas presents for each other, but rather using that money to go out and buy presents to bring to the mission instead.

"Parents can go in and get a present for their children that's really special, and take the wrapping home and wrap that present, and so that child on that day can be like any other New Zealand child," says Mr Farrelly.

It seems such a simple wish, but making it come true is getting harder every year.