Wellington City Council supported Kaibosh Food Rescue has had to shut the doors at their Kāpiti and Hutt sites, and have put their 270+ volunteer programme on hold. They are instead operating with a skeleton crew of seven staff to ensure they can safely observe the strict distancing and health guidelines of Alert Level 4.
But with food still being supplied by supermarkets and food producers across Wellington and the Hutt Valley, and with 32 of the 92 charities they supply still operating, the rescuing and redistributing of surplus food continues.
General Manager Matt Dagger says the demand is high, with Kaibosh providing food to soup kitchens, marae, foodbanks, residential facilities and other essential social service providers.
“Each of these organisations is seeing a huge increase in demand and this is only the beginning.
“We’d like to acknowledge the outpouring of support from people wishing to volunteer that Kaibosh has received before and as we entered the lockdown period. Unfortunately Kaibosh can't use all of these hands right now but on the other side we'll need as much help as we can get!
“In the meantime, a very practical way of supporting our work and helping make a difference is by donating to www.kaibosh.org.nz/donate-now.
“We're gonna be tired at the end of four weeks but we'll get there!”
Volunteers continue to assist elsewhere across the capital, including the Wellington Student Army, which Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul is a member of.
“We’re working with local Welly organisations by giving them pools of student volunteers to give targeted training to respond to particular issues in the City or to fill volunteer gaps. An example of this is a team of 4-5 volunteers to coordinate the Meals on Wheels runs to Kāinga Ora housing.
“Lots of our local organisations which our most vulnerable communities rely on have historically relied on volunteers to stay running, but many of these volunteers are out of action as they are older. We are filling some of these gaps with our very own students,” adds Councillor Paul.
Mayor Andy Foster says the Wellington City Council has been a proud supporter of Kaibosh since it started in 2008.
“Kaibosh has always provided a remarkable service in the community, and it’s truly inspiring the positive outcomes they have achieved from a social and environmental point of view – and they’re still doing that in the most difficult of circumstances.
“We need to celebrate and appreciate the role all our volunteers are doing, and the selfless way they are caring for the communities that really need a helping hand now – and in the future.”