James and Catherine Flanagan are big believers in the power of community. Born and bred in Canterbury, the couple decided one of the first things they needed to do when they opened Pak'nSave Rangiora was to support a food charity.
"We were looking for a food organisation that could rescue food that was still fit to eat but we couldn't sell to our customers," says James. "It is important for us look after our local community, so we formed a relationship with Satisfy Food Rescue as soon as the store opened – so we could feed locals who were struggling."
The food rescue organisation helps distribute food to people in need in the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts, picking up food at least five times a week from Pak'nSave Rangiora. Recipients include the Amberley Food Bank, St Vincent de Paul - Kaiapoi, Tuahiwi Marae, and Migrant Cooking Class.
Partnering with a food rescue organisation also enables Pak'nSave to "close the loop" and reduce food waste that would have otherwise been sent to landfill.
Last week alone, Satisfy Food Rescue took away punnets of strawberries, pumpkins, cauliflower, butter and cheese – but next week it might be something completely different.
"We collect food from different departments and try to supply wholesome food for food rescue organisations," says James, "and when it gets to a special time of year, the team likes to do something memorable for Satisfy's charity recipients."
For this Christmas, the store bakery got extra busy and prepared special Christmas cakes and mince tarts for the charity.
"Everyone deserves a memorable Christmas and this was our way of helping make one for the people in need in our district."
James says a core pillar of being part of the Foodstuffs co-operative is being involved and helping out local communities and, although he takes pride in knowing people are benefitting from the store's generosity, he believes he has a duty to help out when he can.
Canterbury locals with three children, the Flanagans are highly connected to what's going on in their local community. They know where the need is and have a long list of schools, kindergartens, community groups and events that count on them for support.
"We try to help a diverse range of people and try to help where there is real need," says James. One such group is the Big Brother, Big Sister Trust which is a mentoring service for young people in need of help."
Pak'nSave stores in 2019 alone, contributed an average of $64,000 per store to their local communities and donated the equivalent of 2.5 million meals to those in need via food rescue organisations around the country.
It is also common to see children inspecting food in the Pak'nSave Rangiora aisles as part of the Foodstuffs and Heart Foundation Food For Thought programme – designed to help students (years 5-6) learn how to make healthy food choices.
"We enjoy having the kids in the supermarket and always have a talk with them when they come in. This programme educates children to read food labels and which foods they need to be eating," says James.
"If the community is doing well, we all do well and we believe that if you are in a position to help out, you should," says James.
"We are part of our community. We live here, we play here, we have the best intentions at heart for our community, our customers and our team as well."
To learn more about Satisfy Food Rescue, visit satisfyfoodrescue.org.nz