Demand for its emergency food parcels is up 9 percent in the first quarter of this year, the Salvation Army says.
It said it had provided more than 10,000 families with basic necessities they were unable to afford because of housing costs, unemployment, debt or unexpected expenses.
The army's head of community ministries, Major Pam Waugh, said 250,000 New Zealand children live in poverty, largely due to overcrowded or substandard living conditions.
She said many of those families access food banks and other services.
The Salvation Army's annual fundraising campaign Red Shield Appeal begins tomorrow.