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Food rescue groups turn 24 million meals across the country from garbage to plates.

A new survey shows that food rescue groups have increased by 90% in the year before Cove 19.  (File photo)

MONIQUE FORD / Things

A new survey shows that food rescue groups have increased by 90% in the year before Cove 19. (File photo)

In the past year, food rescue groups across the country have prevented more than 8.6 million kilograms of food from being wasted, instead of being delivered to families in need.

A survey by Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance (AFRA), a collaboration between food rescue charities across the country, showed a 90 percent increase in demand for the year before the Cove 19 – equivalent to 24,776,731 meals.

In New Zealand, One in five children It does not have regular, permanent access to food, and the delta diversity has caused fear and loneliness for many families. Who were already in danger, or were making it difficult..

Gareth Hughes, an AFRA spokesman and former Green MP, said it was clear that food rescue had played a key role in responding to the Cove 19 challenge.

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“It’s unbelievable that food is being saved and transported,” he said. It is a testament to the hard work of food rescue groups and hundreds of volunteers across New Zealand.

During the first lockdown, funding from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) allowed food rescue groups to increase their capacity by investing in large warehouses, chillers, freezers and vehicles.

Matt Dagger, general manager of Kebush, also chairs the AFRA, and says food rescue groups have been placed at the center of communities to deal with crises such as Cove 19.

Ross Gablin / Things.

Matt Dagger, general manager of Kebush, also chairs the AFRA, and says food rescue groups have been placed at the center of communities to deal with crises such as Cove 19.

AFRA Chair Matt Dagger, general manager of Wellington Food Rescue Group Kebosh, said local food rescue groups are being put to work best when food demand increases.

“They are already at the center of communities, and they have become the center of support.”

Formally launched in March, the AFRA provided assistance to food rescue groups across the country in the form of education on “best practices” for food handling and storage, and advocated on behalf of the government. ۔

Rebecca Klor, director of Bus Zalch, said it was great to have contact with other organizations for which they could go for advice or help.

Rebecca Clover, director of Bus Zalch, says demand has increased during the lockdown, and it's nice to go to other like-minded organizations for advice and help.  (File photo)

Warwick Smith / Equipment.

Rebecca Klor, director of Bus Zalch, says demand has increased during the lockdown, and it’s nice to go to other like-minded organizations for advice and help. (File photo)

Just Zulch runs a free store in Palmerston North, “solves two problems at once” with food that would otherwise be wasted and made available to those in need.

Unlike other sectors, food rescue groups did not have a professional body to help them, so the formal form of the food rescue alliance was understood – especially when demand increased.

“We used to give two tons a day to our free store and various community groups. Now, we’re only giving two tons to those community groups,” Kloor said.

One in five New Zealand children does not have regular and permanent access to food.

Alden Williams / Staff

One in five New Zealand children does not have regular and permanent access to food.

Hughes said: “Thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Social Development on the first lockdown, food rescue groups have increased their capacity and invested in large warehouses, chillers, freezers and vehicles to save good food. Otherwise it will be lost to the people who need it.

“Food Rescue accepts and transfers food at no cost and the ‘Good Tactical Clause’ in the New Zealand Food Act protects businesses that donate food to charity.”

Food Alliance was working with MSD to raise more funding, and is currently waiting to hear if more Food Secure Communities funding may be available.

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