Waiheke’s community pantries and fridges are such a vital lifeline for scores of people on the island, that they are empty by 2pm every day. Many people even arrive early in the morning before they’re stocked.
Volunteers for the Waiheke Resources Trust pick up an excess of 500kg of food most days, and general manager Mike Maahs says the need is through the roof. Volunteers have distributed approximately 40 tonnes of rescued food since 2018.
“The food goes very soon after the fridge and pantry have been filled,” says Kai Conscious Coordinator Kathy Voyles.
“I think the need within the community is escalating and we are so glad to be working with Countdown and a number of generous island businesses who give food to us almost every day.”
People who utilise the island’s community pantries and fridges, located outside the Sustainability Centre on Mako Street and Budgeting Services on Putiki Road, come from all walks of life.
“Some people are ashamed that they’re struggling, but so many people are, with rents taking up the majority of their salaries,” says Kathy. “Heating, electricity and food are the first things to fall away.”
Every Friday, the Sustainability Centre buzzes with up to 75 people who gather to enjoy a meal made using rescued food from stores and eateries across Waiheke. Kathy says a lot of the people who come also utilise the community pantries and fridges. • Sophie Boladeras
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