Most Channel readers will be well aware of the great work that Rotary does in the community. There are Rotary clubs all over the Shore that meet weekly and make massive ongoing contributions to the community. They’ve being doing it for decades.
Takapuna North Rotary Club, that meets at the Milford Cruising Club on Monday evenings, is one of those clubs. Over the past 12 months the club’s community project has been to help kick-start the KiwiHarvest project on the North Shore. It has been an outstanding success.
A major part of getting the KiwiHarvest North Shore project off the ground for Takapuna North Rotary was the funding of $27,000 for the Green Van. Takapuna North Rotary kicked the project off on the North Shore May 2017 and other Rotary Clubs have also contributed. These have been Albany, Browns Bay, Northcote and Devonport who joined Takapuna North to help fund the van. Collectively the clubs contributed $20,000 towards the van purchase with the remaining $7,000 coming from private donations from seven Rotarians.
Channel Magazine went along to the Takapuna North Rotary meeting on Monday 11th June, when the club formally handed back the KiwiHarvest North Shore operation to the parent organisation at the completion of the 12 month establishment period.
President Ian Hackett welcomed the guests and members and opened the evening by describing the huge impact and success that the KiwiHarvest project has had on the club, providing real purpose and drive. Speakers on the night also included representatives of KiwiHarvest food recipients in the local region, Kerry Vercarde of Whangaparaoa Baptist Church, Steve McLuckie of Kaitahi Meals, and Jan Rutledge of de Paul House.
Kerry Vercarde spoke of her joy from Fridays, the delivery day at the Foodbank in Whangaparaoa, and gave a heartening story of how food each week helped rehabilitate a local to return to be a full member of society after facing adversity. Steve McLuckie spoke of the last eight months serving monthly Kaitahi Meals in Belmont with up to 130 people coming together to share the warmth and experiences of the community, largely the result of the range and excellence of the food they received. Jan Rutledge talked of her experience at de Paul House where they look after 20 families for whom fresh food and vegetables are a luxury that has become integral to their wellbeing.
Club member Graham MacKinnon spoke fondly about his volunteer work as a KiwiHarvest volunteer van driver, Receiving smiles and getting to know new people each week while on the delivery rounds. Fellow club member Bill Grieve then spoke of the success of the project with an extraordinary amount of food rescued from 11 suppliers and delivered to dozens and dozens of recipients. He also acknowledged the large number of club members and wives/partners directly participating and the hands-on experience of working with the community making this a wonderful experience. Bill then passed copies of the Deed of Gift to Maria Madill of KiwiHarvest who responded, thanking Takapuna North Rotary for all the support and highlighting KiwiHarvest’s North Shore coordinator Janice Blomgren’s outstanding contribution.
The handing-back night proved to be doubly rewarding for Takapuna North Rotary. As well as completing the handing back to KiwiHarvest the club also was presented with the Roger Manuel Trophy 2018 from Rotary ADG Merv Tait. This is an award that recognises the club "initiating a programme most likely to enhance the image of Rotary International”.
For those interested in joining Rotary… The Rotary Club of Takapuna North meets at the Milford Cruising Club on Monday nights at 6pm. The Club welcomes visitors and seeks new members. You can contact them on Facebook, or via email email@example.com or phone Dave Murray on 0275558929.
KiwiHarvest is a fantastic initiative that started in the South Island in 2012 on the belief that every New Zealander, especially our most vulnerable children and families, should have access to fresh, nutritious food.
It is all about rescuing food and nourishing communities. In March 2012, KiwiHarvest began delivering goodness to Dunedin’s charities. They expanded north and have been rescuing food in Auckland since 2015. Every month they deliver more than 60,000kgs of food to 215 charities nationally.
KiwiHarvest's work is already changing the fact that 103,000 tonnes of food is thrown away by New Zealand industry every year. KiwiHarvest is ensuring that a good percentage of that good food does not go to waste and those who need nourishment will receive it. Put simply, KiwiHarvest collects good food before it goes to waste and gets it to those in need.
KiwiHarvest explains its mission as "Two Big Problems. One Clever Solution”. They say that New Zealand produces enough food to feed 20 million people, yet every day tonnes are thrown out, and most of it is perfectly edible. Food is so often the starting point for social agencies working with their clients to break the cycle of need. Having KiwiHarvest deliver rescued food allows these agencies to concentrate on tackling the issues they’re working on, and re-focus their funding on programs to help their clients.
KiwiHarvest’s focus is providing high quality, fresh food that offers more nutrition than the usual canned and dry goods, filling a gap for so many who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. The difference they make adds up to some big changes, and clearly impacts environmentally, socially and economically. This food goes to such places like Ronald McDonald House, The Fono, Tamariki Ataahua, Monte Cecilia, schools in need etc.
Volunteers are the heart and soul of KiwiHarvest. Lots of generous people give their time to the cause and the focus of the organisers is ensuring that this is fun as well as being personally rewarding. Raising funds to ensure KiwiHarvest can continue to operate is also an important part of the initiative. This is done via donations and via support from community and business/corporate groups. This has a very real impact, with every $100 representing 200 meals that KiwiHarvest can deliver.