Stopping waste with stall
Charleen Nicholas has found a way to stop food going to waste and help the community.
Charleen has set up a Community Fruit and Veg stall outside her Te Matai Rd home where food can be taken away or left by anyone.
The Community Food and Veg campaign began in Auckland when Mark Dennis decided to give his surplus fruit and veg away on a roadside stall. The idea has since spread. “I saw on Facebook that a lady in Pāpāmoa had some stands to give away,” says Charleen. “And I thought, ‘why not? I wouldn’t mind doing that because I always have food that I chuck out and I can use that for the good of everyone’.”
She contacted that lady — Lynette Melville, who also looks after a stall — and asked for one of the stands that had been made by Pāpāmoa College students.
Block letters for the stand have been made by Te Puke Menz Shed, making if clear that everything on the stand is free.
As well as being somewhere people can get free food, people can make donations by just leaving things at the stall. As much a way to reduce waste as helping those in need, the stalls are springing up across the country.
So far there has been plenty of fruit on the stall as well as packets and tins of food, bread, bagels and other groceries and even toilet rolls.
Charleen’s house is a short drive up Te Matai Rd from its intersection with Te Puke Highway at number 162 — not too far out of the way, she says.
“It’s my idea and this is where I live, so it’s going to be here,” she laughs. She has regularly posted pictures of the stand on Facebook.
“I’m getting it out there so we’ll see how it goes.” Lynette’s stand is outside Beginnings and Beyond Quality Preschool in Pāpāmoa.
While suffering with the flu and heading to the supermarket to buy lemons, she noticed tree after tree heaving with the fruit and covering the ground and thought “what a waste”. The idea is to give a little, take a little, share a lot, she says.
“It’s for anyone who wants it. It is not a food bank, it is more about reducing waste. There’s so much fruit and vegetables that go to waste.”
People have donated grapefruit, herbs, toothbrushes, cans, cat food, cereal, even books. People keep donating and the stand is replenished often, Lynette says.
CHARLEEN Nicholas (left), pictured with Verity Nicholas and Te Atahere Worters, has started a free food stand on Te Matai Rd.