A large number of people have quickly snapped up much-needed food supplies just weeks out from Christmas.
Two thousand people turned up to the Wagga Beach car park on Wednesday morning as Foodbank handed out eight tonnes of fresh and long-life food items in just 90 minutes to those struggling to make ends meet.
Funded by the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network, Wagga City Council helped organise the event which saw Foodbank return to Wagga for the second time this year.
Foodbank NSW/ACT regional food relief coordinator Colina Meadows said the "pop-up" event was open to "anybody who is in need".
Ms Meadows said there were a range of food products available including cereal, tinned goods, water, bread and $15,000 worth of fresh fruit and vegetables "straight from the markets".
In addition to the food on offer, she said Foodbank had also provided "over a thousand Christmas hampers" to Salvation Army's Doorways, Anglicare and St Vincent De Paul for distribution throughout the Wagga community.
"They've [already] started to distribute those," Ms Meadows said.
Ms Meadows said the Foodbank delivery on Wednesday provided "quality" products to locals which should "last two to three weeks in their refrigerator".
MPHN primary clinical programs and emergency response manager Peta Anderson said this week was the first time the health network had partnered to bring Foodbank to town.
"Wagga City Council [had Foodbank come to town] ... earlier this year, which was really successful, so we came on board to help sponsor it this [time]," Ms Anderson said.
She hoped the day offered a reprieve to members of the community doing it tough right now.
"We know there are people living rough and really struggling at the moment and we wanted to help out in any way we could, especially leading into Christmas," she said.
Ms Anderson acknowledged that Christmas can be a hard time to afford both presents and food.
"Hopefully we can help out a few families in the community by this initiative, which will be great," she said.
Wagga City Council community development coordinator Alexandra Osgood said the council brought Foodbank to town in August during Homelessness Week
Ms Osgood said that visit saw "eight tonne of food gone in about 90 minutes to about 800 people".
"The number of people who came to that was pretty unprecedented," she said.
"We knew calls for food relief were increasing and getting more desperate and we had a lot of first timers asking for assistance and help coming to the food bank pop up."
From that visit, she said conversations arising from that led to bringing another truckload in time for Christmas.
Ms Osgood said with many aid agencies closing down over the Christmas period it is "really important" to be able to provide food relief early in December in the hope that it will "make the rest of the month a little bit easier until service providers open up again."
In conjunction with free food, MPHN also offered free COVID and JEV vaccinations ahead of the holiday period.
MPHN's Ms Anderson encouraged people who have not yet received a COVID vaccination this year to consider getting one.
She said with more people moving about ahead of Christmas, it was really important, particularly for vulnerable people over the age of 75.
Ms Anderson also reminded people to put into practice lessons learned during the pandemic.
"If there are a lot of people around, keep your distance, stay at home if you're feeling unwell and wear a mask if you need to in a really crowded shopping centre," she said.