Businesses praised for donating to food charity

Deborah Manning
Deborah Manning
Kiwi Harvest food rescue trucks have been bursting with supplies, as businesses close during Covid-19 alert Level 4 and no longer have use for tonnes of fresh food.

Founder Deborah Manning said over the past few days the charity had been receiving about one tonne of food a day in Dunedin — more than double what it usually received.

She expected that would slow over the next week and the service would rely on donations in order to continue putting food on the table for families and people who would face food insecurity.

Ms Manning said the influx of food had come from a range of food businesses, including restaurants, cafes, greengrocers and butchers, who had a range of products which would have gone off over the four-week lockdown.

"There has been an enormous amount of food ... unopened and wonderful quality."

She commended Dunedin businesses for "doing the right thing" during the unprecedented circumstances.

However, the abundance of food was not expected to last long.

While it would be "business as usual" for Kiwi Harvest, as it had been deemed an essential service, the fact that most other businesses had had to close meant there would be few places to collect food from.

While people were shopping the way they were in supermarkets, it would not be likely there would be much left over.

Ms Manning hoped businesses would give what they could and said "if everyone does their little bit, it will make up a whole lot of good action".

The way the charity operated had also changed to comply with the Ministry of Health Covid-19 food safety practices.

There would be one driver per truck, and deliveries would only be made to food bank agencies, which it provided the rescued food to, in an effort to minimise movements and contact.

It would also operate with a "skeleton" team, as a decision to send volunteers home had been made despite some wanting to continue.

She said people who were concerned about food security should contact the Ministry of Social Development where there would be options for emergency food grants.

"People may need to wait a good 30 minutes on the line to speak to someone, but hang in there."

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