Thieves have stripped the shelves at the Salvation Army's Rotorua food bank.
Police are investigating the break-in which happened early yesterday morning.
Among the stolen items were two dozen frozen chickens.
The burglary means families in need may miss out on crucial food supplies this Christmas.
Police say they are working to identify fingerprints left at the scene.
This is a particularly low crime. Stealing from a charity at any time is bad enough, but with Christmas fast approaching, the timing couldn't be worse. We strongly support the work of our local City Mission, and know all too well how they would be affected by a like theft.
We hope that the culprits are found quickly; hopefully before the frozen chooks have defrosted. On this occasion, we reckon that an appropriate sentence for the offenders, if convicted would be to be ordered to undertake a significant period of community service with the Rotorua Salvation Army. Then they might get an idea of who the real victims of their offending are.