Dunedin Christmas Box co-ordinator Jason Sargeant said 50 volunteers packed 680 boxes with items including tea, coffee, jam and tinned goods.
As well as food there were a few treats such as scorched almonds added to each box, Mr Sargeant said.
The boxes were then delivered to local organisations including Presbyterian Support Otago, Te Kāika, Stand for Children and Dunedin Women’s Refuge for distribution to local families.
The church was one of 12 locations across the country packing about 31,000 gift-wrapped food boxes as part of Life Community’s Christmas Box initiative.
It began in 2001 as a small community initiative delivering gift-wrapped food boxes to neighbouring families at Christmas time.
Now it is New Zealand’s largest Christmas charity initiative, involving 500 partner organisations.
It is estimated more than onemillion people have been fed through the scheme since 2001.
Head of Community Response Rebecca So’e said the charity had seen hardship statistics get worse across the country and one in five children were living in food scarcity.
"We know a lot of families are dreading an empty table and feelings of failure as a parent this Christmas."
To reach as many families as possible it was asking people to consider donating to help provide a Christmas Box.
"We see so many families break into tears when they receive a Christmas box and see someone cares about them."
Each Christmas Box caters to a family of four to six and contains around 20 food items including staple items and treats.
Organisations partnering to make Christmas Box happen include community groups, churches, government agencies, the NZ Police domestic violence unit and logistics and freight companies.
To give visit Christmasbox.co.nz