A Whanganui supermarket is one of many across New Zealand helping to make Christmas better for struggling families this year.

Major Dave Bennett of the Salvation Army collected two trolleys from Countdown in Victoria Ave to be distributed in food parcels for local families.

Manager Tania Gibney said supermarket staff have filled one trolley with $500 worth of groceries and the other contains goods donated by customers.

"We are one of many Countdowns around New Zealand donating $500 trolleys of food for Christmas this year," she said.

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The Every Kiwi Deserves Food at Christmas food drive is a partnership between Countdown and The Salvation Army to donate food for more than 17,000 New Zealand families in need this festive season.

The appeal is an addition to Countdown's ongoing policy to donate safe, high-quality surplus food to local food rescue charities and food banks.

Countdown Victoria Ave customer service manager Kelly Hancox said she took on the task of "shopping" to fill the trolley.

"I added a lot of essentials like toilet paper and sanitary products as well as the luxury items and Christmas treats.

"I thought about the things people need to get them through the holidays and I think there's a good selection there."

Customer contributions also included practical items as well as treats and Bennett says they will be much appreciated.

"We will be giving out parcels next week and we are up to 100 at this stage.

"That is a lot of struggling families and we are not the only Whanganui agency helping out with parcels either."

Donations can still be made at Countdown until December 16.