Children at nearly 10 local schools and early childhood centres will be squirrelling away cans this month to help out families in need.

The collection is part of Wattie's Cans for Good - a national can collection to help struggling families with food support.

With Salvation Army foodbanks around the country already running low on stock and higher demand for its services, the collection and education campaign will help restock foodbank shelves in the lead up to Christmas.

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"Household budgets are stretched by rising living costs, especially for food and rent. We're seeing a number of foodbanks throughout the country stretched to meet the demand from people requiring food parcels," Salvation Army head of social services Pam Waugh said.

"Already this year we have seen almost an 11 per cent increase for food parcels from the previous year.

"Christmas is an extremely difficult time for many families, so food donations from Wattie's Cans for Good will make a real difference to New Zealanders when they need it the most."

Taking place from October 30 to November 3, all the cans collected will be given to the Salvation Army for use in local foodbanks, enabling early childhood centres and schools to make a direct and real difference to those in need in their local community.

Topkids Lynmore centre manager Sarah Johnstone said they had a box out the front so their families could donate cans.

She said they had been teaching the children about giving to the community, and giving instead of receiving at Christmas.

Last year the Salvation Army gave out more than 58,000 food parcels to help Kiwis in need get back on their feet.

Early childhood centres and schools wanting to take part in Wattie's Cans for Good can register at www.watties.co.nz/cansforgood.

Wattie's Cans for Good:
- ABC Kawaha Point
- Central Kids Elstree Kindergarten
- Topkids Lynmore
- ABC Rotorua East
- Glenholme School
- ABC Rotorua Sunset
- Harakeke Early Learning Centre
- Kids.Com Educare
- Ngongotaha School