Un­sold food feeds com­mu­nity’s hun­gry

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - LUKE KIRKEBY

There may be a few more hun­gry pigs in Toko­roa but Countdown’s Food Res­cue Pro­gramme has cer­tainly re­duced the num­ber of hun­gry hu­mans.

Countdown Toko­roa store man­ager Duane De­lany said ev­ery week the store do­nated up to $2500 worth of food to Love Soup and lo­cal food banks.

‘‘There has al­ways been par­tic­i­pa­tion with the Sal­va­tion Army which has be­come real strong in the last five years, but since 2013 this store has also been help­ing out Love Soup,’’ he said.

Through do­nated prod­ucts which are dam­aged, reach­ing, or just past their best be­fore dates, more than 500 meals per week are dis­trib­uted by Love Soup to peo­ple and char­i­ties in need.

That in­cludes aid­ing 270 kids through the Kids Kai healthy lunch pro­gramme at two lo­cal schools on Wed­nes­days, a com­mu­nity meal at the Sal­va­tion Army ev­ery fort­night on Mon­days, and pro­vid­ing fruit and veg­eta­bles to se­nior cit­i­zens on Sun­days.

‘‘We mark prod­ucts down to sell but if we deam a prod­uct of still ed­i­ble qual­ity but we wouldn’t sell it, that is when it goes to peo­ple like Love Soup,’’ De­lany said.

‘‘Noth­ing that has ever [gone past] a use by date ever goes to a char­ity, that goes straight in the skip, but best be­fore dates do not mean prod­ucts can’t still be con­sumed af­ter that date.’’

He said it has dra­mat­i­cally re­duced the store’s wastage.

‘‘Pre­vi­ously it all would have gone into the bin or to the pig man but I’m lucky with this store be­cause i’m now in the top cou­ple of stores when it comes to my wastage ver­sus re­cy­cling ra­tio. As a store less than a tonne is go­ing to the dump each week and some lo­cal pig men have even gone out of pigs be­cause of it,’’ he said.

Love Soup’s Kathryn-ann Wheeler said Countdown’s con­tri­bu­tion was in­valu­able.

‘‘We have a lot of se­nior cit­i­zens and fam­i­lies which usu­ally have three or more kids com­ing to the com­mu­nity meals and they don’t just come for the food but also for the com­pany,’’ she said.

‘‘The Kids Kai pro­gramme has also made a big change in the chil­dren’s be­hav­iour. I didn’t re­alise how much it af­fects them ed­u­ca­tion and be­hav­iour wise.’’

‘‘Countdown has amaz­ing,’’ she said. been

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Love Soup’s Brian Moke Pouwhare, Countdown’s Charles Con­rad-nield, Love Soup’s Kathryn-ann Wheeler, and Countdown’s Duane De­lany.

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