12 Dec 2023
The Whakatipu community has rallied around behind local branch of KiwiHarvest.
Four months ago the future was looking very uncertain for the local branch of KiwiHarvest, after a major reduction in government funding.
KiwiHarvest rescues food such as fresh produce, goods with damaged packaging and excess food due to over-ordering from around the Queenstown-Lakes area and redistributes it to local charities such as the Salvation Army, Baskets of Blessing, Happiness House and Mana Tahuna, feeding about 760 people each week. In addition, the rescued food prevents about 130,000kg each year from going to landfill.
Due to the reduction in government funds, it could no longer afford its depot, which requires a refrigerated storage facility. The community swung into action, and last night many of the groups and individuals who had supported KiwiHarvest gathered to celebrate the opening of the new depot, at the site of the proposed Whakatipu Community Hub facility.
KiwiHarvest Queenstown branch manager Gary Hough said the community response had been "absolutely mind-blowing".
Funds were donated from Rotary, The Lions club, Royalburn farm, schools, and individual donations, with goods and services being donated by trades people to prepare the site. In total nearly $250,000 was raised.
Two of the biggest grants were an operational grant of $110,000 from Central Lakes Trust, and a $100,000 Impact100 Wakatipu grant, which will fund the purchase of the new refrigerated food truck. The current truck will move to Wanaka to expand the operations in the Upper Clutha region.
It is estimated that 12% of kiwi children experience food insecurity, with this number growing rapidly due to increases in cost of living, and in the Whakatipu the very high cost of housing, and lack of wider family support.