In the lead up to Christmas around 150 families a day are expected to be lining up outside the Auckland City Mission's doors to get a food parcel and a gift for the children.

The mission has launched its Christmas appeal today with a goal of raising $1.3m to help feed and support families struggling to make ends meet.

Around 4000, many of these single mums, are expected to be going to the mission for help in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

The figures show as the festive season swings into gear Christmas shopping would likely remain a distant dream for those who struggled to simply put food on the table.

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It was City Missioner Chris Farrelly's second Christmas at the social service organisation. He said it was concerning to see just how many were unable to buy food once the bills were paid.

"This food insecurity has ongoing implications in all aspects of people's lives, such as leading to poor health outcomes and reduced educational opportunities."

To help them put nutritious food on the table, and to help give children a bit of Christmas cheer, Farrelly called on the generosity of Aucklanders.

"As we approach Christmas, we again reach out to ask our fellow Aucklanders to join us and assist us to bring some joy and hope into the lives of families who desperately need help."

Chris Farrelly, CEO of Auckland City Mission during the 2016 festive season. Photo / Michael Craig
Chris Farrelly, CEO of Auckland City Mission during the 2016 festive season. Photo / Michael Craig

Farrelly said each family in need would be given a food parcel, one Christmas gift for each of their children and access to a Work and Income special needs grant to help them get through the season.

"That is a huge indication of how sad and humbled many of our Auckland families are. People come here and they have to line up outside the Mission, in full view of public people on their way to work in the city, just to receive food and one Christmas present for their children."

The mission hoped to raise $1.3m to buy food parcels, help pay for medical care and provide advice and other essential services throughout the holiday season and well into 2018.

He said as little as $1 per Aucklander could help it reach its fundraising target.