Countdown has launched a brand new Food for Good Foundation, with an immediate $1 million donation to food welfare and food rescue charities around the country, and a further $500,000 in financial support for Countdown’s food rescue partners in the July-June financial year ahead. The Foundation also expects to raise a further $1 million this year for hunger relief together with Countdown customers, through its regular community fundraising and food appeals.
The Food for Good Foundation will build on Countdown’s existing community support of around $7 million each year. It aims to provide meaningful and long-lasting support to our communities, giving all Kiwis the opportunity to thrive, and helping to build a stronger, healthier New Zealand for future generations.
“At Countdown we’re a team of 20,000 proud New Zealanders, and there is not a single one of us who wants to see other Kiwis struggling or going without food in a nation that produces so much,” said Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability.
“That’s why our Food for Good Foundation’s initial $1.5 million of funding will focus on ensuring 35 food charities are supported around the country, and that as much surplus food as possible can be collected from our stores and redistributed to people in need.
“We’ve been in regular contact with our main charity partners for the last two months - first, to provide the immediate food support they urgently needed, but also to understand how we can best help in the coming months and year. Overwhelmingly they told us that the need they are seeing is not going to go away, and longer-term financial support is vital so they can ramp up their ability to help - whether that’s more food, more people, more vans on the road, or more fridges and freezers,” said Hannifin.
“We are proud to be part of 183 communities across Aotearoa, and establishing the Food for Good Foundation will allow us to structure and provide our support in a way that best benefits our communities, sets our charity partners up for the long-term, and aligns with our objective, which is to use food for good."
Jono Bell, The Salvation Army’s Territorial Community Ministries Director, said foodbanks around the country have been inundated with requests for help.
“The reality is that Aotearoa already had significant food poverty and food insecurity - this isn’t a new problem. However, we’re now seeing an influx of people who have lost their jobs, or whose salary or wages have been reduced. These are households all over the country, from all different backgrounds, who can no longer meet their rent or mortgage costs, or pay their bills.
“We all need to rethink our approach and the way we support people through this. By having some financial security behind us, we’ll be in a better position to make long-term impact,” said Bell.
Deborah Manning, founder of food rescue charity KiwiHarvest, said the additional funding will help to expand their food rescue collections, particularly throughout Auckland, ensuring as little food as possible is wasted and instead is redistributed to people in need.
“Food is a precious resource that someone has grown and cared for, and to waste it when so many people are struggling just doesn’t sit right for me, or, I suspect, for any New Zealander for that matter.
“What this funding will mean is that we can extend our Countdown food rescue collections to another 10 supermarkets, which then ensures that more quality food can be provided to people in desperate need,” said Manning.
Over the coming month, the Foundation will set out its 2020-2021 plans including opportunities for customers to also get involved.