Christmas for many people is about spending at shopping malls and giving presents.

But for other families it can be the hardest time of the year as they struggle to get food on the table and come up with gifts to put under the tree.

The South Auckland Christian Foodbank is preparing hundreds of Christmas hampers this year to help needy families.

The charitable trust - which has been helping South Auckland families since 2008 - is one of 12 recipients of $10,000 grants from Auckland Airport this year.


The foodbank's chief executive and trustee, Ian Foster, said more than 400 people approached the organisation on a weekly basis.

"We're doing between 50 to 60 parcels every week and they're all being taken up by people who really need it in the community.

"The reality is, most of our clients are beneficiaries and most are financially in a terrible place. There's been a lack of money to fund their families and they turn to us."

Mr Foster said they often dealt with families in severe situations and going to the foodbank was their last option.

"We see families where a husband's suddenly died and the families have just really found themselves in a tight spot, as he was the main breadwinner. There are many cases that are heartbreaking."

The $10,000 will go towards groceries for hundreds of hampers and gifts to be delivered to families this Christmas.

"We get lots of companies who donate food for our hampers and that's great. But the demand is really high at this time of the year and we really want to help as many families as we can," Mr Fostersaid.

Some of the money will go towards the trust's annual Christmas dinner, where 300 guests will be treated to a three-course meal put on by staff.

Charles Spillane, Auckland Airport's general manager of corporate affairs, said being able to help an organisation that was doing something special for needy families was fantastic.

"We're delighted to give this grant to a charity that plays such an important role in South Auckland."