Four the past five years Resene has held a Colour for Hunger campaign where customers exchange a can of food for a test pot of paint, with the food donated to foodbanks.

This year Levin customers handed in 450 cans, which have now gone to the town's foodbank, run by the Salvation Army.

Levin Corps officer Chris Collings said the foodbank handed out 627 food parcels and so far this year 120, which are helping 258 people.

"The time when kids go back to school always shows a jump in demand for food help," Collings said.

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Resene store manager Isabel Hynds said this year's haul was the biggest so far. There is a limit of seven pots per household each year.

Resene gives the pots out free - and not all pots are used to test paint colours inside or outside houses.

"A lot of people use them to paint rocks and use them in other crafts.

"The locals are really generous but often they need something like this campaign to show it," said Collings. It is a way for people to give back without fuss.