Putting Christmas kai on the table

(From left) KiwiHarvest staff Junaya Leask and Jessie Beer, and Healthy Families Invercargill systems innovator Megan Dawson are hoping for lots of donations of food for the KiwiHarvest Christmas Food Drive. Photo: Active Southland

CHRISTMAS can be a stressful time, but a joint initiative between food rescue organisation KiwiHarvest and Healthy Families Invercargill is hoping to make things a bit easier for families this year.

A Christmas Food Drive is being organised by Healthy Families Invercargill, with donated food items to go to KiwiHarvest, which then redistributes the items to support food bank agencies in Southland.

The Food Drive will run from December 6-10.

Healthy Families Invercargill systems innovator Megan Dawson said Christmas was a tough time for a lot of people, especially this year when Covid-19 had had a significant impact on the community.

“So many people in our community are struggling to put good, nutritious kai on their tables.

“As a community, we need to work together to ensure that families have access to things they need, and that, of course, includes food. Hopefully, by working together we can help make things a little easier for some of our most vulnerable families this Christmas.”

Perishable food items including meat, bread and eggs can be donated, as can non-perishable items. Christmas kai items would also be appreciated.

“It is for Christmas, after all,” Ms Dawson said.

To add to the benefit, KiwiHarvest has also been announced as a beneficiary of this year’s Waihopai Lions Christmas Tree Festival at ILT Stadium Southland.

A “gifting tree” will be set up at the festival for people to donate food items.

The food drive and Christmas tree festival details were announced at a celebration officially launching KiwiHarvest in Invercargill last Thursday.

“We are wanting to support KiwiHarvest to be successful by connecting them with a wide local network, a sustainable co-ordinated approach, where our whole community contributes,” she said.

KiwiHarvest Invercargill branch manager Jessie Beer said there was a huge need for food rescue in Southland, with 18 recipient agencies already signed up to receive the redirected food rescued by KiwiHarvest.

“Since we established in August 2021, we have already rescued more than 40 tonnes of food and redirected that to the table of our agency’s clients. This equates to up to 400kg of food being rescued and redirected to those who need it, every day.”

KiwiHarvest took over the reins of food rescue in the south from the Southland Food Rescue Trust.

Southland Food Rescue Trust founding trustee Lesley Soper, who, along with fellow founding trustee Pip Munro, attended the KiwiHarvest launch, agreed there was a need for large-scale food rescue efforts in Southland.

thrilled to hand the kaupapa over to KiwiHarvest.”

  • Anyone wishing to donate food items to the KiwiHarvest Christmas Food Drive can do so at T & T Property Management, Bayleys Winton, Active Southland Gore, Gore Visitor Centre, ILT Stadium Southland Gifting Tree, Professionals Invercargill, New World Elles Road, Mee & Henry Law, and Jubilee Budget Advisory Service.
  • Additional drop-off locations are added regularly so go to the Healthy Families Invercargill Facebook page for more details.