COVID-19: Q & A with Nourished for Nil

Hawke’s Bay Foundation asked some local charities how COVID-19 affected them, especially during level 4 lockdown, and how they adapted to ensure their services remained available to their communities. Read below about Nourished for Nil’s unique responses.

Nourished for Nil  

Nourished for Nil was formed in 2017 by Christina McBeth and Louise Saurin with a mission to rescue food that would otherwise go to waste, and redistribute it to the Hawke’s Bay community. Their simple system of rescuing food from donors and passing it on to recipients happens in the space of mere hours.
Their goal is to minimise the food waste in Hawke’s Bay and keep our community ‘nourished for nil’.

What did your organisation do to help during the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown?
We continued to operate due to being an essential service, but we had to change the way we provided food. We had two teams. The first team made up food parcels that were delivered to people who were unable to collect them. We’ve never provided a delivery service until now.
The second team made up parcels that were picked up in the afternoon. Most of our volunteers couldn’t help either as they are over 70 and considered high risk. We had 12 volunteers able to assist.

Did you see an increase in demand for your service during L4?
Yes. In the six weeks before lockdown we provided food to 13,000 people. In the six weeks during lockdown that grew to 19,000 people.

How has COVID-19 affected your organisation?
It has been mostly positive for us. We were fortunate to receive a lot of food from businesses that were unable to open due to Level 4 restrictions. For example, we were fortunate to be recipients of 5+ a day fruit and veg boxes, which we were able to pass onto many families while schools were closed.
We’ve taken advantage of the Government subsidies and COVID-19 relief funding available to community groups so we don’t see our service suffering. We are in the food bowl of New Zealand here, so we believe we’ll continue to get food donations too. We’re just going with the flow.

Do you anticipate a change in the way you provide your service?
Level 4 was good for us as it forced us to streamline our service. We struggled with queues before lockdown and with the influx of customers we had to make some changes.
We have found some great ways to make our service more efficient while still taking care to respect people’s social distance. Ultimately what we do, rescuing food, continues to operate like always.