Janet Alderton may be in her late seventies, but that doesn't stop her helping to deliver fresh fruit and veges to more than 2000 Christchurch families each week.
Since joining the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op in 2011, Janet has roped in three generations of her family as volunteers alongside her.
Janet, two of her daughters, two grand-daughters and one great-grand-daughter all meet on Wednesday mornings at the Hoon Hay Presbyterian Church to package up fresh produce for more than 100 families in the southern suburbs.
"My family wanted the parcels, and then they got into it too. They're like me a bit - they like to do things in the Community," she said.
The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is an initiative run by the Christ Church Cathedral and Canterbury District Health Board's Community and Public Health.
Participants pay $10 a week in advance to get their quota of fruit and veges, valued at roughly twice the fee - something Janet believes is a huge incentive to many.
"It's so important. A lot of people who pick up the boxes from me, their kids never ate fruit before, because it was too expensive to bother with.
"Before, people used to go without. Now, they quite look forward to it, " she said.
"I take back between 40 and 50 parcels to my place from the hub and people come by to pick them up."
Community and Public Health promoter Ann Vanschevensteen says because the co-op buys in such bulk quantities, the fees cover costs, as well as offering better value for money.
"The expenses are paid out of that $10, so that's the plastic bags the goods are packaged in, the hand sanitiser and the transport from the wholesalers to the packing hubs. That covers it all, really."
Community and Public Health got on board the Christ Church Cathedral-run project soon after the 2010 quake, opening a packaging centre in New Brighton that October.
"We wanted to start up these packing hubs in the east of the city because supermarkets had closed, and it was getting hard to eat well and stay healthy that way, " Vanschevensteen said.
"It's really spread from there. We started with 45 families, and at the last count, we had more than 2000 families."
Community and Public Health also provides nutritious recipes to match each week's variety of fruit and vegetables.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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