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Up and running . . . Foodbank Canterbury has started operating in Timaru. Unpacking food are (from left) John Doocey, Ingrid Moore, Tracy Dawe and Janice Milligan. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Foodbank Canterbury did its first food run around Timaru and Temuka supermarkets last Wednesday picking up food for distribution.

The Christchurch-based not-for-profit organisation has set up in Timaru to help charitable organisations distribute food around Timaru and Temuka, although this was expected to change, as further expansion is likely.

“Geraldine and Waimate have come to us as well – we want to share what we get,” Foodbank Canterbury general manager Janice Milligan said.

Previously known as City Harvest Food Rescue, Foodbank Canterbury picks up the food and takes it to a distribution centre in Cains Tce, Timaru.

“It can be collected in the morning and people could be having it for dinner that night.”

Organisations such as St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Support Services, Women’s Refuge and others can then uplift the food for distribution.

“It can be collected in the morning and people could be having it for dinner that night,” John Doocey, of Christchurch, who led the food collection last week, said.

“We went to two New Worlds, Pak’n Save and two Countdowns in Timaru and Temuka and were received very well.

“We serve the charities which have good networks in place and they are dealing with things holistically as well.”

About 30 volunteers have helped set up the distribution centre in Cains Tce and two people – Ingrid Moore and Tracy Dawe – have been employed full time.

A new chiller has been installed, which was bought with funding from pub charities, and Alpine Energy has assisted with its installation.

Food manufacturers have also pledged their support and will donate excess stock.

Mrs Milligan said expressions of interest had also been received from schools to provide volunteers.

Foodbank Canterbury, then City Harvest Food Rescue, was founded in Christchurch three years ago by Mrs Milligan and her husband John.