In its first two weeks Nourished for Nil gave away 690 items of food, plus 40 kilograms of fruit and vegetables, all destined for landfill.
Hawke’s Bay’s new food re-direction service opened its doors, or tables, for the first time on February 13 with 323 people visiting the Hastings based pop-up store in its first two weeks.
The charity collects food which is good enough to eat, but not to sell, from cafes, stores and bakeries, then gives it out to any members of the public.
Its main aim is to reduce food waste to landfill, but a positive by-product was providing free food to anyone who wanted or needed it.
Each weekday afternoon a team of volunteers, lead by Christina McBeth and Louise Saurin, visit participating stores to collect surplus food.
This is taken to Landmarks Square, a small courtyard in central Hastings, on the corner of Warren and Heretaunga East streets.
Food is available for anyone to collect between 4pm and 6pm Monday to Friday.
After two weeks Saurin said Mondays had been the busiest, with 104 people through to collect food on February 20, and 70 people through on February 13.
They were still looking for more suppliers to come on board, plus people to collect food.
“We are just skimming the surface of the food waste that’s out there,” Saurin said.
The group is widening its scope with drivers picking up non-perishable food items “languishing in people’s pantries as well as items from their home fruit or vegetable patches.”
“We’ve been lucky enough to tap into cafes, restaurants, and even the Countdown supermarket here in Hastings who bin many food items at the end of each day,” Saurin said.
“The support so far has been wonderful, and we can’t thank our food donors enough. But it’s a long game for us – we know we are only at the very beginning of this journey.”
The ultimate goal was to create a permanent Hawke’s Bay premises for Nourished for Nil, with an electricity source and fridges in order to store perishables such as meat and cheese.
The group also have a Givealittle page for anyone who wanted to help but couldn’t offer food or time.