From Entrepreneur to Volunteer
To see the organisation’s work in action, Deborah suggests we join a pick-up and distribution trip with one of Kiwi Harvest’s volunteers. A truck is about to leave, so we hastily put on bright yellow vest and climb into the cabin. Driver Allan Croad takes us across the city to a less affluent neighbourhood of Dunedin. Our destination is a community centre for people from such Pacific islands as Tonga, Fiji, and Vanuatu. “Many Pasifika, as they are often called, are struggling to make ends meet”, Allan clarifies. We help him unload dozens of food packages that Allan’s colleagues prepared at the distribution centre. “The volunteers from the community centre dispense these packages to 32 families in this neighbourhood”, Allan explains. “They know best who needs the packages the most. By leaving that decision to them, we can focus on collecting the food.”
On the way back, we stop at a large supermarket. They clearly have been expecting us: three well-filled shopping carts are waiting for us to take to the truck. Fresh products that are close to their sell-buy date make up the majority of the carts’ contents. “Our collecting these leftover food items means that the supermarket does not have to throw them away. They would normally have to pay for discharging waste, so it saves them money.” While we load the truck, Allan tells us that Kiwi Harvest primarily collects nutritious food, such as vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and dairy. “No soft drinks, alcohol, or fast food”, he adds. On the way to Kiwi Harvest we ask him how he ended up at volunteering for them. “I used to be an entrepreneur but sold my company. When I heard about this great initiative here in Dunedin, I volunteered. It allows me to give something back to society. It’s a rewarding job that I really enjoy”, he replies with a smile.