PHOTOS: Auckland City Mission getting on with giving

The Auckland City Mission is getting on with its yearly Christmas project of giving.

In a day, the Mission can process 300 people - most of them families with children - but they'd like to be able to do more.

Teams of volunteers, alongside Work and Income staff, work from morning to night packing up and handing out food parcels and presents to families who can't afford their own.

Families and individuals are assessed on their government benefits, on how much they earn, and how much they spend - and Work and Income determines if they're eligible for a hand-out.

Today, more than 20 volunteers are working through the more than 300 people who've lined up on Hobson Street in the city for most of the day.

Last year, they processed 3,100 families and individuals in the 17 days before Christmas.

Yesterday, Child Poverty New Zealand figures were released, showing the numbers of children living in a state of poverty have increased steadily over the last decade.

Auckland's City Missioner Dianne Robertson agrees.

"The Mission distributed 1,673 emergency food parcels from September to November in 2013... while this year, over the same period, we distributed 2,306."

Dame Robertson says that's a 28-percent increase in two years, and a third of the families requiring assistance this year are asking for the first time. The Auckland City Mission is doing its best to keep up, but donations are worryingly low this year.

With Christmas only a week away, the Mission is encouraging people to donate money, food or presents - particularly for girls aged 9-17. A spokeswoman says they've been struggling to find presents to girls this year.

She says the Mission has a good thing going, and to make that good thing keep going, they really need people who have enough, to think about giving to those who don't.