Levin North School students are helping needy people in the community by boosting a local food bank and scoring paint for their school in return.

Hunger For Colour is a campaign being run by Resene around the country, where a can of food can be swapped for a test pot of paint.

The cans are passed on by the company to local Salvation Army food banks.

Teacher Manu Bennett said Levin North School got involved in the initiative after students went into the local Resene shop to get some quality paints for their art projects and saw a poster about it.

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"They were excited to have a different way of contributing to those in need and get some paints to go with it," he said.

"As part of our maths lesson, we calculated how much we would save by donating a $1 food can for $4.60 worth of quality paints.

"There is a limit of seven cans per household, though [Resene] have been very generous to us as a school."

The school received 87 test pots which they were allowed to choose, Bennett said.

"We are currently designing murals for some of our display panels around the school and there are three that need to be filled with colourful pictures," he said. "This type of paint, other than paints commonly used in schools, is better quality and weather proof."

He said the children had been learning about why food banks exist and where their donations would go.

"It has been part of my social science unit where my students have looked into community needs and what organisations are out there to help those in need."

The Hunger For Colour initiative runs nationwide annually throughout the month of February, with 2019 its fourth year.

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More than 32,000 cans of food were this year donated and swapped for paint nationwide.

Salvation Army social services national manager Major Pam Waugh said the cans would give a timely boost to Salvation Army food banks, restocking shelves after a busy holiday and back-to-school period and helping prepare for winter when many families struggle.

"Once again Resene and their customers have got behind us with a fantastic effort," she said.

"We're really grateful to community-minded companies like Resene and people around New Zealand who show such care for people facing a tough time in their community. It takes the pressure off our centres when so many people support them to help those in need."