Aiming to make a difference, Countdown and The Salvation Army have joined forces to address widespread food poverty this Christmas.

The Countdown Food Rescue Christmas Appeal works to help fill food parcels for 15,000 Kiwis experiencing food poverty. Kicking off the appeal, Countdown has donated more than 90,000 groceries to The Salvation Army's local foodbanks. The supermarket chain is encouraging customers to also donate while in stores this season or through the country's only online foodbank .

According to Jodi Hoare, The Salvation Army’s Community Ministries Programme Coordinator, thousands of people across the country are experiencing food poverty each day, with Christmas being extremely difficult for household budgets.

“While there is food poverty all year round, Christmas is particularly tough.  We want everyone to have food this Christmas and these donations from customers and Countdown are critical to make this a reality for our foodbanks."

Last year, the appeal managed to donate over $550,000 worth of food to The Salvation Army which provided 9300 medium-sized food parcels for Christmas.

“This made an incredible contribution to helping us make Christmas special for Kiwis in need, the online donations alone included more than 8000 canned food items, 800 chickens, 4 tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables and 3600 Christmas treats.”

The most needed items for Countdown’s Food Rescue Christmas Appeal include, pasta and rice, flour, eggs, personal care, tinned fruit, baby food, nappies, canned goods and Christmas treats.