New food depot opening in New Plymouth to cope with ‘unprecedented’ demand

New food depot opening in New Plymouth to cope with ‘unprecedented’ demand

On The House general manager Terry Hancock prepares to move into a new depot which aims to appease food poverty.

The growing demand for charitable food parcels across the New Plymouth district could be helped significantly by a new distribution hub on the outskirts of the city.

On The House, a food rescue organisation which operates through donations from cafés, restaurants, supermarkets, as well as through grants from major organisations, will shortly open a hub in Waiwhakaiho.

“Having a hub means On The House can divert more food from landfill and into community groups, including food banks, which are under unprecedented demand,” general manager Terry Hancock said.

The new food hub will house the infrastructure where On The House volunteers can collect, sort, store and distribute food to community groups. It will also offer an office space for On The House staff.

The opening of the food hub comes after food banks in the district have struggled to find enough stock to meet demand, while New Plymouth Foodbank has had a two-year search to find new premises after its lease ran out.

In January, the Waitara Pātaka Kai made a public appeal for more donations to cope with record demand as shelves became bare.

Hancock said the non-profit group On The House had been working on “meaningful ways to better assist existing food charities” and believed its food hub would be able to supply tonnes more food to the community.

Established in 2017, On The House began by collecting leftover muffins, sandwiches and salads from New Plymouth cafés.

On The House general manager Terry Hancock has been with the orgainsation since it was established in 2017.

Six years on and it has grown to a point where it collected 75,000 kilograms of food last year which would previously have been sent to landfill.

Hancock said 66,000kg of the food collected was distributed to 8500 customers last year, with the remaining given out on a piecemeal basis to community groups who needed it.

The distribution took place twice a week at pop-up stores with demand so high, the organisation previously was forced to establish a lottery system to cut waiting times, which it no longer has to.

“The hub will allow us to collect even more food to redistribute exclusively to community groups, such as food banks,” Hancock said.

More than 8500 people received food from On The House last year.

Food charities interested in receiving surplus food from the new hub are encouraged to contact On The House through its website.

On The House will continue to operate its twice-weekly free food stores to the public. They operate 5-6pm Mondays at St James Presbyterian Church, 24 Lawry Street, and 5-6pm Thursdays at Holy Trinity Church, 10 Henui Street.

 

Source: Taranaki Daily News / https://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/131412560/new-food-depot-opening-in-new-plymouth-to-cope-with-unprecedented-demand

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