The Christchurch City Mission is facing unprecedented demand for food parcels from desperate families facing a tough Christmas.
It is appealing for donations of food and money as the mission's food supply rapidly dwindles in the face of overwhelming need.
CEO Matthew Mark said the weekly demand had already shot up 200 per cent on last year.
"In the first hour just today [Monday] alone we processed as many people through our food bank as we would in two and a half days."
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The mission is urgently appealing for donations to help spread Christmas cheer.
Mark said people can give food, money or their time.
"That $1 you might spend on buying a tin at the supermarket we could normally multiply that by 3 to 4 times due to the buying power we have through partners in our community, so we make those dollars go a lot further."
The sentiment is being echoed by the Auckland City Mission which says demand is soaring for food and presents.
Requests for food parcels had been twice as high as usual throughout the year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and had remained steady in the lead-up to Christmas.
The charity has been distributing around 1000 parcels a week, up from 450 the previous year, and had given out 9000 food parcels in the week leading up to Christmas.
Last week, the charity's phone lines crashed after 70,000 calls in a day from families seeking food or gifts. Many of those were from individuals calling hundreds of times - highlighting their desperation for support.