Fair Food for families

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 08:01 05/10/2012
Fair Food
JUNIOR TAVAI

FATHERLY FOOD: From left: Toots Samuels, Santana Vaka, Eugene Hunapo, Liam Brady, Michael Vaka and Travis Howall enjoy the produce they receive through Fair Food.

Fair Food
JAMES IRELAND
GROCERY GIVING: Fair Food volunteer Jade Carter, left, and project co-ordinator Travena White spend the day collecting and delivering food to help the community.

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At least 14 tonnes of unwanted food has been put to good use thanks to a West Auckland initiative.

The Fair Food programme was launched from Henderson in February.

It collects surplus items from supermarkets and other retailers and delivers the food to community groups that distribute it where it is needed.

The generosity of the Fair Food programme has been a huge help for 21-year-old Jaye Zito and his family.

"I have an eight-month-old daughter named Zaye and it can be a real struggle but this just makes it easier. It's been a huge help to get this food every week," he says.

"I did the Young Dads West course to try to be a better father and they would bring us fruit and veges, bread and sometimes meat," he says.

"It shows that if you try to do good then good things will happen to you.

"I have been unemployed for a while but I'm going to university next year and it's pretty hard for a young family."

Project manager Travena White says the programme is running at full capacity, providing food to at least 300 families a week.

"Right now I am the only person paid to be here and we have five volunteers but we are always looking for more. We get most of our funding from the Waitakere Wellbeing Collaboration Project," she says.

"We travel throughout West Auckland, into the city and over to the North Shore every day picking up food and delivering it to where it is needed.

"The food we pick up is really good but it is just unwanted, it may be a pre-packed bag of mandarins with one that has gone off and the rest are perfectly fine," she says.

Junior Tavai co-ordinates Young Dads West, run by HealthWest, and says Fair Food means the world to the fathers he helps every week.

"I always tell them this is a blessing and you shouldn't expect it but when you get help like this you should be very grateful, and they are.

"It can be hard for young parents and this just lifts the burden a bit."

Boxes of food are delivered to Mr Tavai's group every week and the items are divided up between the dads.

"The variety of food they give out is amazing, it's not just the basics like bread and milk, we get a lot of fruits and veges," he says.

Ms White says the idea for Fair Food came from seeing the demand during the Free Store pilot in West Auckland last year.

"It took eight months of planning to get it off the ground. We are constantly being approached by new groups wanting to get involved but unfortunately we need more help to get there.

"We really need the use of a cool store and more funding to put towards the cost of running the vans," she says.

Email info@fairfood.org.nz for more information.

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- Western Leader

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