Regional | Food Parcels

Turning unwanted supermarket food into 35,000 meals a week for needy families

Tracey Pirini (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Porou) and her dedicated team at Fair Food, provide 35,000 meals for Auckland families in need every week.

Established in 2011, Fair Food is Auckland’s first food rescue organisation evolving from the original ‘Free Store Watakere 2011′ project which first found widespread food insecurity in West Auckland.

Twelve years later, the operation is in full swing, operating from its warehouse in Avondale, sending trucks out early in the morning to collect unwanted food from supermarkets.

“We go in, collect that kai. Fresh produce, fruit, veggies, dairy and meat products. It comes back here and that’s hand-sorted by our volunteers who come through each day,” Pirini says.

The packaging from the food is recycled and the food scraps go to the local pigs. In fact, less than half a per cent of the 12 tonnes of salvaged food each week goes to landfill.

Once the food is sorted and boxed, it then goes to charity partners, and is distributed to whānau in need.

“You want someone to open up their food box and go ‘oh yum that looks beautiful’, not open up a box and see something bruised and a bit worse for wear - that’s not enhancing anyone’s mana. That’s not helping anyone feel good about themselves, so we want to make sure that that kai is as good as it can be,” Pirini says.

Pirini was recently announced as a finalist for the Westfields Local Hero Award, where the winner will receive $20,000 for their kaupapa.

“That’s 40,000 meals that we can put back out into our community so a vote for me is a vote for you, and a vote for our whānau!”

Voting is open until September 11.