Today, on World Food Day, Aotearoa’s largest food rescue organisation, KiwiHarvest is calling for New Zealanders to Waste Less and instead Donate Food to local organisations – as the economic impact of COVID-19 means that more Kiwis are struggling with food hardship than ever before.
Blandina Diamond, KiwiHarvest General Manager, says that while initial donations from generous individuals and businesses have been a significant help, demand for food has remained consistently high, even since lockdown came to an end.
Between April and September of this year, KiwiHarvest distributed over 1.2 million kgs of food – an increase of over 60% from the same time last year. Before COVID-19, KiwiHarvest distributed an average of 98,000kgs of food per month to its recipient agencies which rose to 216,000kgs at its peak in June, an increase of 120.4%.
“The support we’ve received from businesses and individuals so far has made an enormous difference to those in need. In spite of this generosity, we’re going to see the fallout of COVID-19 being felt for a long time, and food insecurity in Aotearoa being an ongoing issue for many of our most vulnerable whanau and families.
“At the same time, figures from Love Food Hate Waste estimate that each and every year Kiwis throw away over 157,000 tonnes of food which could feed over 337,000 people. It’s disheartening to see so much good food going to landfill which wastes growing and supply chain resources and creates greenhouse gases, when it could instead be redistributed to communities in need.
“This World Food Day, we’re encouraging individuals and families to look at their own food choices and behaviours to see how they can reduce their food waste and instead donate food to their local food bank or organisation to help create a food secure Aotearoa,” says Diamond.
World Food Day is recognised annually on 16 October, to raise global awareness of food waste and food insecurity and the importance of ensuring that food is respected, and healthy diets are a daily reality for everyone.
To recognise World Food Day, KiwiHarvest will also be inviting Kiwis to experience the food rescue journey first hand in a behind the scenes look into its operations, which will be broadcast live today on its social media channels.
Today also marks the launch of KiwiHarvest’s Christmas campaign – Kirihimete Koha – which asks Kiwis to consider donating Christmas food items (particularly ham, large whole chicken, ice cream tubs or cake) to inject some joy over the holidays into those Kiwi households who otherwise couldn’t afford to celebrate a special Christmas day.
All donations will be redistributed to whanau and families in need nationwide, via KiwiHarvest’s recipient agencies. Anyone wishing to donate can do so at any of KiwiHarvest’s branches on specific days through November and December. For more details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kiwiharvest.org.nz.