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Celebrating the Heart of Our Community: Volunteer Week at Satisfy Food Rescue

Like all good stories, this one begins with a small group of volunteers, a car, some guts, and a whole lot of passion. 

Nearly ten years ago, a handful of concerned individuals came together, driven by the alarming statistic that one-third of all food ends up as waste.

They decided to take action.

Today, Satisfy Food Rescue boasts 50 dedicated volunteers who join forces with their 10 employed staff each week, rescuing an average of 36.2 tonnes of food every month.

Without these passionate volunteers, Satisfy would cease to exist.

Since 2014, Kaiapoi-based Satisfy Food Rescue has served as a vital link, collecting surplus food that would otherwise end up in landfills or as animal feed and redistributing it to community organisations aiding those in need.

Their partnerships with local groups, including the Oxford & District Lions, Belfast Rotary, Food Secure North Canterbury and other volunteer-run organisations, amplify their impact, creating a robust network of support throughout the Waimakariri, Hurunui, and Christchurch districts.

Chairperson Phillipa Hunt explains, “We have a really cool structure at Satisfy. Our organisational chart is almost upside down, with our volunteers at the top because they are the engine of our organisation, and we love to celebrate them.” 

“Each volunteer has such passion for what they do, and I’m really proud of that - it means that everyone is so connected and takes ownership of what we do.” 

With around 50 volunteers helping each week—whether it's assisting drivers with food collection, sorting food in the warehouse, or aiding recipient organisations during distribution—their passion and dedication are the lifeblood of Satisfy’s mission to reduce waste and feed those in need. 

Volunteering is a powerful force that transforms communities, ignites change, and offers essential support to those in need.

Satisfy understands this better than anyone, proudly boasting that 54% of their volunteers have dedicated between four and nine years to their cause.

Furthermore, new volunteers who have come on board recently as Satisfy has experienced significant growth now account for 25% of their team.

Amid a nationwide decline in volunteer numbers, Satisfy’s high retention rates and growing team are testaments to the passion and commitment of their volunteers.

Satisfy’s volunteers ensure that 49 local organisations, such as food banks, community meal providers, and schools, can support those in need with free, edible surplus food.

This collective effort reaches over 200,000 children, families, and individuals per year, providing them with nutritious meals and reducing food waste.

To date, Satisfy’s volunteers have helped rescue 1.3 million kilograms of edible surplus food—equivalent to over 3.8 million meals!

But the impact of volunteering goes beyond practical benefits; it fosters personal growth and fulfillment, builds strong communities, and creates lasting connections among people from all walks of life. 

“The camaraderie and friendships formed within our teams are a driving factor behind our incredible volunteer retention record,” says Phillipa. 

As we celebrate Volunteer Week between 16th to 22nd of June 2024, we honor the profound importance of volunteering and the difference it makes in our community.

Each weekday team at Satisfy is like its own family, united by a common purpose and an unwavering commitment to helping others.

Their volunteers’ passion and dedication ensure that Satisfy can continue its vital work.

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