The Salvation Army says unusually cold weather has caused a spike in demand for food parcels in Whangarei.
Temperatures plummeted to low single figures in the so-called winterless north last week, with frosts and even snow in some places.
The food bank manager Pete Mullenger says for some Northland families it's been a choice between eating or staying warm.
He says many have pay-as-you-go power meters, and they have had to dip into the food budget to heat their homes.
The Salvation Army says nationally, the demand for food parcels dropped slightly in the three months to July, but it's still up 4.5% on last year.