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Sports and comedy legends volunteer with NZFN

Not-for-profit, New Zealand Food Network (NZFN) has distributed over 25 million kilograms of rescued and donated food to Kiwis in need in just 3.5 years.

To celebrate this momentous milestone, the team at NZFN were joined by Rugby World Champion legend, Piri Weepu, comedian and media personality, Leigh Hart, and Super Rugby star, Samuel Slade to pack food parcels for the many Kiwis facing food insecurity.

The Kiwi icons spent the day sorting and packing donated food items as ambassadors for Pitch In, NZFN’s 12-month campaign to (virtually) fill Auckland’s Eden Park sports field with 100,000 meals for Kiwi families.

NZFN Chief Executive Gavin Findlay says that the urgent need for food support makes the organisation’s achievement a double-edged sword.

“We’re incredibly proud to reach such a significant milestone in just a few years of operation. To put it in perspective, 25 million kilograms of food is equivalent to over 60 million meals and it’s a testament to our teams’ dedication and the incredible support of our donor partners. However, it’s also a stark reminder that hundreds of thousands of Kiwi families struggle to put enough food on the table.

“That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of Piri, Leigh, Sam, and award-winning Special Olympics athlete Grace Payne to help us raise additional funds to purchase much-needed food for our partner food hubs.”

The newest recruit to the line-up is Manu Samoa, Moana Pasifika, and Counties Manukau rugby player Samuel Slade, who found the day especially meaningful having experienced food insecurity first-hand growing up.

“When I was a kid and finances were tight, there wasn’t always enough food at home, and I know how hard that is on families. I’m fortunate enough now to be able to have food on the table each week for me and my family, but I know so many others are still struggling. Food support services are an important lifeline, and I feel incredibly grateful to help NZFN today and to support its mission.

“It was awesome to be on the other side, helping those in need and seeing the scale of what NZFN is doing to help people throughout New Zealand. I would encourage anyone that can help to please donate to Pitch In and help us fill Eden Park with meals for Kiwi kids.”

NZFN is almost at the halfway point through its Pitch In appeal which calls on food businesses and the public to donate funds or bulk food to (virtually) fill Auckland’s iconic Eden Park with meals. To date, NZFN has provided 30,000 meals thanks to funds raised by Pitch In, but there is still a long way to go to reach their goal of 100,000 meals for Kiwis in need.

Gavin Findlay adds, “Nutritious food should be accessible for everyone, and the increasing demand for food support highlights the pressing need for our services. We’re grateful for all the support but there is a lot more work to do and 100% of the donations for Pitch In go directly to feeding people in need.”

If you’re a food business or individual wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of New Zealanders, consider donating funds or bulk stock at https://pitchin.org.nz/

 

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