CuriousCity: Saving half a tonne of food all in a day's work for Kaibosh video

ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Curious City: Every day Kaibosh driver Lance Williams makes several trips across the Wellington region to collect donated food in the organisation's chiller truck.

In less than an decade, Wellington food rescue charity Kaibosh has grown exponentially, giving a second life to more surplus food than ever before. Ruby Macandrew went to see what a typical day looked like for the staff and volunteers involved.

Helping feed the region's most in need, while saving food from ending up in landfill is no small undertaking, but it's one that a team of passionate staff and volunteers are doing everyday through Kaibosh.

The food rescue organisation, which was the first of its kind when it began in 2008, helps link the food industry with community groups to ensure quality, surplus food is distributed to those who need it most, rather than being needlessly discarded.

On average, about 60 per cent of all food rescued by Kaibosh is fruit and vegetables.
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

On average, about 60 per cent of all food rescued by Kaibosh is fruit and vegetables.

"For families that are doing it tough, the first thing that drops off their list is healthy, nourishing food. It can be difficult for people with limited budgets to be able to afford," general manager Matt Dagger said.

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Each day, Hutt Valley-based driver Lance Williams picks up food from seven supermarkets during his usual run, with about 70 per cent coming from Countdown, Kaibosh's biggest donor.

Kaibosh driver Lance Williams collects donated food from Countdown Petone which will soon be distributed to several ...
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Kaibosh driver Lance Williams collects donated food from Countdown Petone which will soon be distributed to several charity groups.

Once Williams' chiller truck is brimming with food, he makes his way back to HQ where a small army of volunteers waits, ready to sort out the spoils for collection.

Dagger said the more than 160 Kaibosh volunteers were "the engine" that kept everything running smoothly, even in difficult times.

Late last year, the organisation lost its city premises in the November earthquake, leaving the fledgling Lower Hutt location the sole site of operation.

Kaibosh volunteers Ondine Brown, left and Judy Pickering sort donated food, getting it ready for Wellington charities to ...
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

Kaibosh volunteers Ondine Brown, left and Judy Pickering sort donated food, getting it ready for Wellington charities to pick up.

"It kept on trucking along, and now it's as busy as the city location," Dagger said.

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While the city site had since reopened in a new location, Lower Hutt operations manager Jen Gibson said her site, which opened at the end of 2015, continued to go from strength to strength.

"We're up around 8-10 tonnes of food a month through here alone – that's about 400kg a day getting passed onto those in need."

"We're just one little part of all the amazing stuff going on to make Wellington a better place," says general manager ...
ROSS GIBLIN/STUFF

"We're just one little part of all the amazing stuff going on to make Wellington a better place," says general manager Matt Dagger.

For Dagger though, Kaibosh is about providing more than just food to those in need.

"Food is really important, but there has to be other assistance that you get to help you out of poverty so you don't actually need the food ... in the future."

Currently, 65 different groups take food from Kaibosh, including The Salvation Army and Wellington Night Shelter, with dozens more waiting in the wings.

"There is a lot of need for what we provide so we still have a waiting list of charities. We're trying to resource ourselves to be able to rescue more food, Dagger said.

"We're just one little part of all the amazing stuff going on to make Wellington a better place."

 - Stuff

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