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Volunteer programme boosts Fair Food’s mission

Since 2011, Avondale-based charity Fair Food has been feeding the community. Over the past three years alone, Fair Food has rescued nearly 2 million kgs of meat, dairy, bread and produce that would otherwise end up in landfill. And that surplus food has seen over 5,600,000 meals distributed to local communities.

‘We are nourishing our community one bite at a time,’ says General Manager Michelle Blau. She says that surplus kai is collected from supermarkets and manufacturers. A dedicated team of volunteers hand-sort the food and share it with more than 60 Auckland charities and community organisations to distribute. ‘We are the charity behind the charities,’ Michelle says.

Volunteers are Fair Food’s beating heart. According to Michelle, around 2,000 volunteers prepare the kai for distribution. And thanks in part to the Your West Support Fund, Fair Food has recruited even more helpers.

Funding of $9,436 has been invested in a volunteer programme for people with learning disabilities or those who need extra support. ‘Some of these volunteers are coming back from experiencing hard times in their lives, and others are returning to employment,’ advises Michelle. She adds that Fair Food is a welcoming place for people who may have felt isolated or held back from social engagement or those who come with a support person.

The programme has been a massive success, with 31 additional volunteers recruited to help with Fair Food’s vital work. Together, the programme has contributed an extra 1,200 hours of service.

And the extra help has come at just the right time. Michelle advises that the impact of the flooding and cost-of-living crisis has seen more demand for Fair Food’s service than ever. Last year, around 35,000 meals worth of fresh foods were distributed each week.

The volunteers have also gained much from the programme. They’ve made friends and feel a sense of belonging through helping others. Volunteers have also developed an understanding of food safety practices and meal preparation.

Michelle says that the programme has been such a success that Fair Food is continuing it this year.

Fair Food is always on the hunt for volunteers. The charity is running a special initiative this Mother’s Day to ensure no mum misses a meal. Fair Food will distribute kai and special treats for mums on Mother’s Day and is accepting donations and contributions. So, check out the website if you can donate time, funds, or treats.