Back in March, Linda Lake, organiser of the Foxton free food rescue shop Te Awahou Kai, was desperately looking for a new home for the free community service.
At the time the operation was based in a classroom at Foxton School, but redevelopment work at the school later in the year meant their classroom would be needed again for teaching.
Linda heard the old Birthright drop-in centre opposite New World on Whyte St, Foxton might be coming vacant and within weeks she had organised with the landlord to take over the lease.
On July 5 Linda and a team of volunteers moved the freezers, fridges, food and shelving from Foxton School to their new premises.
A&S Removals from Foxton supplied a truck and labour free of charge, and Low Cost Bins supplied another truck at no cost to help the team move. Low Cost Bins also supply free weekly refuse collection to Te Awahou Kai.
"We were so blessed to have so much help moving," said Linda. She acknowledged the great support and aroha shown by Foxton School over the last 18 months.
The new premises provide Te Awahou Kai with three times the space it had before and open up the possibilities of offering other services in the future, such as drop-in morning tea, something Linda is keen to do.
However, increased space in a more prominent site has meant the rental cost has significantly increased from $30 a month to $60 a week, a cost Linda and volunteers have to fundraise for. Monthly raffles are held for this.
"Ideally we could get people or a business to donate money for the rent and other ongoing costs such as transport, and power."
Linda is adept at finding help in the community and acknowledges the businesses that already support the initiative with regular food supplies such as Turks Poultry, LA Takeaways, New World Foxton, and recently Four Square Foxton Beach, who have come on board donating short-dated goods which can be frozen.
But, she says, they always need more food and toiletry donations. She encourages any business with usable food that might otherwise be wasted to get in touch with her. Her volunteers organise collections from businesses to make things easier for them to donate.
During level 4 lockdown Linda was organising food donations to those who needed it from her house, where Te Awahou Kai was originally based.
From donated goods she also made up boredom buster packs, designed to keep children entertained. Although immune-compromised herself, Linda made sure donations were collected contactless.
It is hoped Te Awahou Kai will be open again within two weeks, once Linda and volunteers have "cleaned the place up a bit and got all the grocery items organised".
Having obtained new premises, Linda is focused on her next goals for Te Awahou Kai - to find more cash donations, a pie warmer, bread racks and a double-door glass fridge.
Anyone can donate goods or time to Te Awahou Kai by contacting Linda firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on 027 221 3561. https://www.facebook.com/teawahoukai/ Financial donations are welcome to the Te Awahou Kai BNZ account 02-0727-0543305-034