Kai Rescue tackling food insecurity in Nelson Tasman

Posted on 02 April 2024

Kai Rescue is putting food in the hands of those who need it most and reducing food waste emissions at the same time.

Concerned by the alarming statistics of greenhouse gas emissions caused by food waste, the Nelson Environment Centre took action and created Kai Rescue in 2017.

Launched as a collaborative initiative, the programme collects and receives food that is still good to eat, but is surplus and can no longer be sold.

Every weekday, Kai Rescue’s team of dedicated volunteers collect and sort edible food from donors such as supermarkets and manufacturers that would otherwise end up in landfill. The food is collected by over 55 partner community groups such as Victory Community Centre, Whanake Youth, and the Male Room, ensuring it reaches those who need it most.

The organisation has experienced steady growth and demand for its service over the years and the programme has successfully diverted nearly a million kilograms of food. That’s the equivalent of 2.7 million meals distributed and the prevention of 1.9 million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent sponsorship from NBS has provided support to Kai Rescue, contributing to its continued impact on the community and environment.

NBS community engagement manager, Nic Foster, applauds the work of Kai Rescue and expressed excitement about the partnership, highlighting the importance of supporting Kai Rescue’s efforts in food rescue and environmental preservation.

“​​Thanks to those who choose to bank with us, we can share our profits back into the community.”

Anton Drazevic, chief executive of the Nelson Environment Centre, says that as demand has increased for food support in the community, they’ve been fortunate to increase supply through new relationships with food donors.

“Many Nelsonians will be familiar with Kai Rescue’s big electric van on the roads. It used to do only one collection run a day, but now does up to four.”

Despite these challenges, as well as rising operational costs and funding constraints, Kai Rescue remains committed to its mission. The programme relies heavily on the support of volunteers, grants, and donations to sustain its operations, but acknowledges that it faces a difficult funding landscape going forward.

Individuals interested in supporting Kai Rescue’s mission can go here to learn more about how they can contribute to this vital cause.

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