Kai is a Hug You Can Eat

November 16, 2022

Whaea Jacqui Pauline and Claire at the Glenavon Community Hub.

The price of fruits and vegetables has gone up 15%. When budgets are tight, fresh foods are the most likely items to get left out of the grocery cart. Fair Food fills this gap for people in need, hand-sorting more than 5 tonnes of rescued food each week to distribute for free through a network of 40 culturally-responsive local organisations.

“Kai is a hug you can eat, and Jacqui’s really good at loving on people.”, RJ reflects as she sets up the tables in the Glenavon Community Hub and Trust, based out of the local primary school. Each Tuesday, Jacqui picks up fresh food from Fair Food in the morning to make ‘kai connect’ care packages that can feed a family for the week. Whaea Jacqui and volunteers Pauline and Claire consider what meals can be made with the food available and have tips ready for any new vegetables, like parsnips or leeks, that might not be in people’s usual diets. 

Their team have relationships in the community that go back decades. It’s this local connection that removes some of the hurdles people face in getting help. As prices increase across the board, locally and globally, the team see more and more whānau reaching for support. 

“Kai insecurity can be such a drain, emotionally, physically, and mentally on an individual or whānau. Added into that mix are the vulnerabilities we see, our elderly, or those with medical conditions or impacts on whānau like mental health or addiction. Our Team feel a real sense of responsibility to love and care for one another. Our role is simply to close the gap on kai inequity and accessibility.” 

Kai Connect care packages, packed and ready for people and families in need.
Kai Connect care packages, packed and ready for people and families in need.

“It takes a village. With our team and supporters we are standing in agreement that Manaakitanga and Whanaungatanga stand as the core principles of the Glenavon Community Hub and Trust”, says Hub Coordinator RJ.   

The community hub team are experts at feeding a family on a budget but the biggest thing they offer is time. Reaching out for help and opening up about personal struggles is a brave thing to do. The Glenavon whānau provide genuine care that gives people the space to rest and lets them know they’re not alone. They deliver kai from Fair Food to people at home or where they’re staying if that’s the best way to provide assistance. They aren’t just passing on ingredients, they are looking after each other and repairing broken links in the community.   

RJ says she feels that same aroha from Fair Food. “Getting kai from Fair Food is different from other experiences. We hold the vision of hope for our people, offering wrap-around support services and modelling Awhi and Aroha, so our people of Glenavon will begin again to see themselves as valuable in their own life story.” 

“There’s so much thought, care, and attention that goes into each box packed by Fair Food. It’s more than kai. It’s potential and it’s hope.”

Words and images supplied by Fair Food.

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