Huge demand for Gizzy Kai Rescue
Gizzy Kai Rescue is seeking further donations of food to meet the massive growth in demand since the Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown.
The not-for-profit organisation's manager Lauren Beattie said donations need to be from MPI-approved producers. In the past two weeks alone, Gizzy Kai Rescue (GKR) has distributed over seven tonnes of food.
For the past 18 months, Gizzy Kai Rescue (GKR) has been helping community groups feed the community with rescued kai. This has dramatically reduced the food waste and volume of waste going to the Tirohia landfill at Paeroa.
In 2019, a year after starting operations, this reduction in food waste being trucked out of the district saw GKR receive three years' funding from Trust Tairawhiti to employ its first manager as the job had become too big for its lead volunteers.
Ms Beattie started in January and quickly learned how GKR operated. Her role was to find food donors, organise community groups to distribute food and the 35 plus volunteers that make it happen. Six days a week, volunteers — many of them over 65 — pick up, sort and package a range of food into cartons for ultimate distribution, via registered groups, to families in need.
Ms Beattie found nothing in her job description about dealing with a pandemic, how to cope with a huge growth in demand and the need to seek greater quantities of food for families, the elderly and those with compromised health.
The GKR board held a special meeting hours before the Level 4 lockdown to decide whether or not to close. It opted to continue, to meet the growing need for families to receive food.
“We knew families' need for food would increase,” Ms Beattie said. “We already had a crisis and emergency policy in place so were able to put together a pandemic plan quickly and register with the Ministry for Primary Industries from the beginning of Level 4.
“This enabled us to react quickly and to ensure the safety of our volunteers and recipients. We always follow strict food-handling procedures. We also communicated this with Tairawhiti Civil Defence and Hauora Tairawhiti.
“We have had to reorganise our volunteer list as many are no longer able to help because of their age or circumstances. We are coping well with the reduced workforce, particularly with the two-metre distancing required.
“Using phone and email, we formed new relationships to gain more food and we have now extended our reach to more whanau and pakeke (elderly) in the whole district.
“Thanks to the generosity in the community, we have a coolstore space, chilled transport and are even bringing rescue food in from Hastings thanks to a newly-formed relationship with Nourish for Nil.
“This would not have been possible without all the support and generosity — there are so many people to thank including Trust Tairawhiti and Tairawhiti Civil Defence. Local growers and producers are doing it tough through this but, even so, many are pushing through and donating to GKR.”
If you have MPI-approved food products to donate, please email email@example.com
Follow the journey via Facebook/gizzykairescue
■ GKR asks if you or your whanau are in need of food, ring Gisborne District Council 867 2049.