Caring Through Kai: 10 Million Meals Rescued

August 15, 2023

The Kaibosh Team are all smiles posing next to one of their food delivery vans.

For over a decade, One Percent Collective donors have contributed to Kaibosh's efforts to divert good food from landfill and into the bellies of good people who need it. Since 2012, those contributions now total over $400,000! Read about Kaibosh's milestones, news, and achievements since moving to Alumni Charity status with One Percent Collective in 2022.

10 million meals saved since 2008!

Kaibosh has reached an incredible milestone – 10 million meals worth of kai have been provided to the community since New Zealand’s first food rescue started back in 2008. This amazing achievement over the past 15 years has saved 3.5million kilograms of food from being needlessly wasted and stopped the equivalent of 90,000 kg of carbon emissions from entering our atmosphere.

Distributing 10 millions meals worth of good kai to the community has been possible through Kaibosh’s partnerships in the community. Over 150 charities and community groups who are supporting people in need, receive kai from Kaibosh, ensuring quality surplus food is reaching those who are struggling rather than being needlessly discarded. Groups supported by Kaibosh range from emergency accommodation and transitional housing providers, to youth development programmes, women’s refuges, Marae based whānau support services, through to traditional soup kitchens and food banks.

The Wellington Boy’s & Girl’s Institute (BGI) is just one of the many local community groups who has received food from Kaibosh since the early years of the food rescue programme.

“At BGI we started on the 0% food waste journey as a direct influence of Kaibosh kaupapa and have not looked back!” says Michael Person, who is the Head Chef at BGI’s Community Kitchen.

“We now feed and educate families and young people towards best practise and help them eat nutritionally and affordably through our BGI community kitchen. These programs wouldn’t be possible without the support of Kaibosh and their dedicated volunteer team.”

Saving more food & planning for kitchens

Plans and new processes are bubbling away at Kaibosh, so more food can be saved from landfill and to ensure that the maximum amount of surplus food is getting to the people who need it. 

One of these new methods involves providing additional surplus food that is good for cooking but not for eating fresh. We label this ‘kitchen kai’ and provide it to a handful of charity recipients that we know can use it – such as BGI, Compassion Soup Kitchen, Everybody Eats, Kōkiri Marae and community centres hosting cooking workshops.

Kitchen kai is identified by our teams of volunteers in the daily food sorting shifts. This new process came about from an idea suggested in winter 2022 by one of our longest serving volunteers in Wellington City, Penny who is an experienced cook and has been a professional caterer in the past. She asked, was it possible to put aside extra ripe fruit, freezing it on the day we rescued it, if we had recipient organisations who could cook it for the community.

“It’s the kai that just needs a little TLC!” says Luke, Wellington Operations Manager.

In Wellington, around 10 of the 56 charities receiving kai from Kaibosh, now receive kitchen kai.

After Cyclone Gabrielle hit in early 2023, fresh produce supply chains were disrupted for a number of weeks. The extra kitchen kai which Kaibosh had stored in the freezer meant they could ensure community groups still received important fruit and vegetables, to cook and feed people in need in their community.

Kaibosh staff and volunteers are very happy to see more kai being used by the community, feeding people instead of going to waste. Any food still not suitable for people (around 5%) is passed on to feed animals or to composting services.

The next step for Kaibosh is current research into developing kitchen facilities within one of our own hubs! Stay tuned for updates about this exciting new project later in the year.

Celebrating our Volunteers

Over the years more than 700 generous humans have been part of Kaibosh’s volunteer pool, and contributed to getting food to where it needs to be – out to people who need it in our communities. The 10 million meals milestone was notched up just before 2023 National Volunteer Week in June, so the was shared as part of volunteer afternoon tea events at our three Food Rescue Hubs.

Currently more than 150 people volunteer at Kaibosh, outnumbering the operation staff by more than ten to one. Volunteers work as a team of food sorters to check and quality control the surplus food which has been collected by Kaibosh Food Rescue Drivers.

Vanessa has been volunteering for Kaibosh in Lower Hutt since 2017. She started out supporting a Food Rescue Driver collecting food and then moved on to Food Sorting.

“It’s something I’m really drawn towards. Redistributing food that would be wasted – that just makes sense. I grew up in a household that didn’t waste anything. We made soup with the last veges and used up everything.”

“The social aspect too”, Vanessa says. “I went through 3 years of being too unwell to work, so volunteering and to connect with people was important for me.”

Farewell Matt & Kia Ora Susie!

In June, Kaibosh said goodbye to Matt Dagger, who led our team for over a decade. In that time he developed Kaibosh from the Wellington City focused small team of two staff, to a region-wide efficient operation redistributing 70,000 kg of food every month on average from three food rescue hubs in Wellington, the Hutt Vally and Kāpiti-Horowhenua.

“I joined Kaibosh in 2012”, Matt reminisces. “At the time there were two staff, one truck and a handful of volunteers. One of the first relationships that I formed in my early days was with Pat at One Percent Collective, when we joined as one of the early recipient organisations.

“It has been incredible to watch the growth of the Collective”, adds Matt, “and in turn the support that Kaibosh was fortunate to receive from the many people who chose to put their financial faith in us. The growth of both Kaibosh and Collective was reflected in the level of donations and thus the volumes of food we were able to distribute as a direct result.”

“Personally, I have been a donor to One Percent Collective for over ten years and I couldn't think of a better way to facilitate my own giving. One Percent Collective is a mighty force for good!”

Matt is now working for a number of different organisations including the Aotearoa Food Rescue Alliance, the Environmental Law Initiative, and other NGO groups across New Zealand, utilising the many skills and contacts that he developed during his tenure at Kaibosh.

Kaibosh welcomed Susie Robertson on board in June.

New Kaibosh Chief Executive, Susie Robertson

“Since joining Kaibosh, I have witnessed a team dedicated to rescuing as much food as they can to ensure that people in our community are getting the food they need. Kaibosh staff, volunteers, board members, and the charities we serve all working together towards a common goal, and doing it with kindness, comradery, and determination.”

Susie has a passion for people and planet, so for her Kaibosh ticks both boxes with its mission of Zero Food Poverty and Zero Food Waste. Susie’s last role was as the Community Manager at Sustainability Trust, and prior to that working in the youth health and development sector in charities and government.

Words and images supplied by Kaibosh.

Kaibosh now an Alumni Charity

Kaibosh is now an Alumni Charity of One Percent Collective. We have been proud to have supported them since 2013 and have now moved them to Alumni status to make way for more grassroots charities to take a spot in our donor sign up form. We love everything about Kaibosh and will still be passing on 100% of donations from those who signed up to give to them while they were a priority charity of ours. If you'd like to directly support Kaibosh, please head on over to

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