Aucklanders in desperate need may struggle to get through the holiday season if donations to the Auckland City Mission's annual fundraiser do not pick up.
With less than a week to go until Christmas, the mission had only raised a third of the $1.3 million it needs to provide help to those in need.
City Missioner Chris Farrelly urged people to think of the thousands of Aucklanders who would spend the season in poverty and consider making a donation.
Last year the organisation distributed about 13,000 emergency food parcels to Aucklanders in desperate need – 4000 of those in December alone.
"December is our busiest time of year, with more than 4000 people coming to us for food parcels and presents for their children in the three weeks leading up to Christmas, and 2000 people coming to our Christmas lunch.
"These are people who can't afford even a single present for their children, or a special meal on Christmas Day. On the week leading up to Christmas we are now seeing record numbers coming through the mission every day," Farrelly said.
"The beginning of the New Year is also a time when we experience high demand, particularly from families who have run out of money and food for their children."
The mission will provide 8000 children with Christmas presents this year.
Farrelly urged Aucklanders who could afford it to consider making a financial donation to help both over Christmas and into the New Year.
"Christmas is the season of goodwill, and I'm humbled and heartened by the support that Aucklanders have already shown to the mission this year. But when Christmas is over, thousands of families across Auckland will still be living in deprivation and desperation," he said.
More than 80 per cent of the mission's services are funded through donations, and year-round, it provides not only emergency food parcels, but also low-cost healthcare, drug and alcohol services, outreach support for rough sleepers and isolated elderly people, an activities programme and community centre for central Auckland's homeless population, and a Crisis Care service for low-income individuals and families.