Fair Food helping West Aucklanders

It always feels nice to give back to your community and on Friday 11th June 2021 staff from Regal Beloit and the Rosebank Business Association volunteered to help at Fair Food based at 2/624 Rosebank Road.

Fair Food obtains surplus food that would otherwise go to landfill and re-distributes it to people in need. The approach and overall model tackles both social and environmental issues at the same time.

We were greeted by Veronica, Toni and Tracey who walked us through safety procedures before leading our teams into the warehouse and workstations. 

Not knowing what to expect was part of the hype as anticipation-built whilst waiting for the truck to arrive with the food to be sorted. Our group was divided between three sorting tables – two sorting fresh produce with the third sorting dry products. The rule of thumb was that when picking up a piece of produce you asked yourself “would I eat this?” If yes it went into one of the picked boxes, if not then it went into a blue compost box.

Fair Food are big on minimalizing waste and that is why they created a banana bread recipe and a designated time for a team to work in the kitchen on food prep from the compost bins.

Fair Food presented us with a report on our contribution to helping feed people, not landfill:

  • We donated 24 hours of our time
  • 12 volunteers
  • We hand sorted 1109 kilos of good food. 
  • This equates to feeding our community with 3169 meals. 
  • By saving good food from going to landfill, the team helped protect Papatūānuku by reducing carbon emissions by 863 kilos. 

The two hours flew by with everyone thoroughly enjoying the experience and a new appreciation of how we can be helping each other to become stronger together in more ways than one. The group enjoyed it so much that they are keen to do it again. 

Fair Food informed me that they started recording volunteering hours back in November 2020 and their volunteers have contributed 2,381 hours of value and time to our community and planet. This equates to hand-sorting over 62,000 kgs of food creating 178,000 meals for our community, which are all going to feed people, not landfill.

Reasons are varied as to why people volunteer, with some people wanting social connection, or to be more independent, and some to give back to their community or help with mental wellbeing. Schools are also getting behind Fair Food and have regular student volunteers from local schools including Waitakere College, St Dominics and further afield Dilworth School and the Equippers College – all learning about the importance of service in the community. 

The wonderful thing about volunteering is that you meet such a diverse range of people. Fair Foods youngest volunteer is 12 years old and their oldest is 81, they come from all spheres of life and include lawyers, mums, boat builders, educators, and the police. They also provide opportunities for people with disabilities and have worked hard to create a welcoming, safe environment for all. 

Fair Food offer volunteering opportunities Monday–Friday as food sorters or food rescuers to assist on their trucks as well as other good deeds including washing of trucks, painting, and general housekeeping around the Hub in Rosebank. They average 10 volunteers a day, five days a week with a maximum of 12 people each day. If you’re interested in helping, contact volunteering@ fairfood.org.nz