Foxton's food rescue charity Te Awahou Kai is struggling to make ends meet as it relies on benefit money from the single-parent who founded it to survive.

In April, Foxton woman Linda Lake started the free food store, which collects unwanted but usable food from local businesses as well as donated grocery items, and gives them away to the community from a shop in a disused classroom at a Foxton Primary School.

Te Awahou Kai is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, giving away food and other grocery items to about 18 people each time it opens its doors.

The most items they have given away at one time is more than 200, showing a real need does exist in the community, Lake said.

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There is no criteria for people wanting to receive items from the charity other than that they are mindful of others' needs, and the charity donates its own leftover items to local schools.

Donated fruit at Te Awahou Kai.
Donated fruit at Te Awahou Kai.

Lake, a single mother of a teenager and a toddler, said she had the idea for the store almost a year ago and had worked hard to set it up, arranging to rent a classroom for $30 a week to cover power, and partially funding a vehicle herself to collect donated food.

However, she is finding the costs of running the charity are beginning to bite, and despite some donations and contributions from people who support her work, she is struggling to find the $100 a week from her benefit to pay the power and afford petrol

She is determined to continue though.

"It's definitely going to happen," she said. "We've got to feed people. No one should go hungry and no kids should go without food."

Lake said not having enough food or lacking connections with others in the community could affect mental health - another reason she was adamant Te Awahou Kai should continue.

She and several other volunteers had been brainstorming fundraising ideas, and had set up a Give A Little page in the hopes of raising some money towards running costs.

Te Awahou Kai food rescue charity in Foxton needs donations.
Te Awahou Kai food rescue charity in Foxton needs donations.

A pamphlet drop to raise awareness of the charity was planned, with Lake again having to meet the costs of printing from her benefit, and a koha bucket was placed in the store, although it was by no means compulsory, she said.

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The group was also going to the local community and businesses to urge them to consider donating food items, or everyday essentials such as toiletries to help someone in need.

If you can help Te Awahou Kai, please contact Linda Lake on 027 221 3561 or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/teawahoukai

To donate to the Give A Little page, visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/te-awahou-kai