Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as parts of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

New Zealand generates 103,000 tonnes of food waste each year, with avoidable food waste having the potential to feed up to 80,000 people per year.

Founded in 2012, KiwiHarvest rescues fresh, nutritious food and delivers it to people who need it.

When this article was written it had saved 1,332,849kg of food from landfill and provided 3,808,141 meals.

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Manager Maria Madill said the companies they partner with were more than happy for them to come and collect food.

"No food business wants to see good food going to waste and it makes their staff so happy knowing that good food is helping people in their local communities.

"We are collecting surplus good food from wholesalers, growers, supermarkets, manufacturers, cafes, caterers and events.

"Nationally we have over 200 food donors," Madill said, and they deliver to 215 charities and community groups.

KiwiHarvest plans to use the grant to provide meals in South Auckland.

"With the funding from Auckland Airport, we can help 20,000 people who are struggling to have a Christmas dinner; we will make sure they know where the good food hug comes from.

"People are not just hungry at Christmas, the challenge of rescuing good food for those in need is present everyday but of course helping people at this time of the year is so gratefully appreciated, and needed," Madill said.

Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety Anna Cassels-Brown said they loved what KiwiHarvest was doing to rescue food that's still edible.

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"We put a lot of effort into our recycling schemes to help the airport community dispose of food waste in a sustainable way, and we're really pleased to support a charity that's doing similar work."

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