Helping families put food on the table

By Petrina Wright | Posted: Tuesday March 7, 2023

Family Works and KiwiHarvest have formed a welcome partnership at a time when putting food on the table is becoming increasingly difficult for families.

Family Works Invercargill became a KiwiHarvest recipient (a charity or community group selected to receive the food donations) in August 2021. It now receives weekly deliveries of packaged foods, dairy, meat, and fresh produce.

KiwiHarvest, is a national food rescue organisation which collects surplus and donated food and distributes it to community organisations to pass on to those in need.

KiwiHarvest Invercargill branch coordinator Jessie Beer said - “It is food which would have otherwise gone into landfill, so we are creating social good as well as environmental good.”

Jessie said Family Works ticked all the boxes.

“We are very proud to be supporting PSS and the great work they do in the community, and to be able to work alongside them and help break down barriers with whānau, with kai often being a starting point for many.”

Jessie said she had witnessed the positive impact KiwiHarvest had in the community first-hand when she was living in Dunedin. She had also volunteered with them.

When she moved back home to Invercargill, she saw a need for such a service and contacted KiwiHarvest’s national office about setting up a branch in the city.

Jessie started the Invercargill branch out of her garage in August 2021, using her own car to deliver food to 20 recipients. Nearly 18 months on, KiwiHarvest was now being operated out of a warehouse, had two dedicated delivery vehicles, 20 volunteers, and was delivering food to 50 recipients, including women’s refuges, night shelters, low decile schools, maraes, and local food banks.

In that time, they had given out food for more than 874,000 meals. 

Jessie said at present, they were feeding nearly 3000 people each week.

“The need is still growing.”

Initially the Invercargill branch of KiwiHarvest had received Ministry of Social Development funding to purchase food through the COVID-19 Relief Fund. That funding stopped in November last year, so the charity was now solely reliant on their supporters for food donations.

Family Works manager Irene Te Koeti said when staff gave the families they were working with food provided by KiwiHarvest, it was always gratefully received, particularly in light of theincreasing cost of living.

“We would like to extend a big thank you to all those involved in KiwiHarvest for their hard work and commitment to make this happen for our families.”

Family Works Invercargill and Gore are among more than 250 registered charities and community groups from throughout the country selected to receive KiwiHarvest’s food for thefamilies they support.

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