Transforming Unwanted Supermarket Food into 35,000 Weekly Meals to Support Needy Families

by Ella

AUCKLAND — Tracey Pirini (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Porou) and her devoted team at Fair Food are instrumental in providing a lifeline of 35,000 meals every week to families in need across Auckland.

Founded in 2011, Fair Food emerged as Auckland’s pioneering food rescue organization, stemming from the initial ‘Free Store Watakere 2011’ initiative that first brought to light the widespread issue of food insecurity in West Auckland.


Fast forward twelve years, and this operation is in full swing, operating seamlessly from its Avondale warehouse, dispatching trucks at the crack of dawn to gather surplus food from local supermarkets.


“We enter, gather the sustenance. Fresh produce, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat items. These goods return here and are meticulously sorted by our dedicated volunteers who contribute their time each day,” remarks Pirini.


The packaging material from the collected food is recycled, while food scraps find a purpose as sustenance for local pigs. Remarkably, less than half a percent of the weekly salvaged 12-ton food quantity finds its way to landfills.


Once sorted and packaged, the food makes its way to partnering charitable organizations, eventually reaching deserving families.

“The aim is for individuals to open their food package and exclaim ‘oh, what a delightful spread’ instead of uncovering bruised or slightly worn-out items. This culinary experience uplifts one’s sense of dignity and self-worth. Our objective is to ensure that the nourishment is of the highest quality,” Pirini emphasizes.

Pirini recently garnered recognition as a finalist for the esteemed Westfields Local Hero Award, an accolade that comes with a $20,000 grant for the chosen cause.

“Consider this: 40,000 meals that can directly impact our community. Casting a vote in my favor translates to casting a vote for you, and ultimately, a vote for the well-being of our extended family!”

Voting remains open until September 11th.



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