As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of food rescue enterprise, KiwiHarvest, Deborah Manning believes access to nutritious food is a human right. In 2014, with support from Goodman, Deborah set up KiwiHarvest, a social enterprise that has grown to deliver 170,000 meals a month to charities and social service agencies in New Zealand.
Challenges on the way
At first, food businesses were worried they'd be liable. In reality, there are protections for food donors, so I reassured them of that. Some concerns lingered, so communication was key. Our brand was crucial, too, and our robust food handling processes made sure both were protected.
The other big challenge was financial. Like any rapidly growing social enterprise, we had to balance our social purpose with the bottom line.
As our founding partner, Goodman purpose-built our headquarters and storage facility in Auckland from shipping containers. We needed lots of freezers and chillers for food. Goodman liaised with its contractors to make it happen in an environmentally friendly way: the materials, the energy and the planning.
Since then, Goodman has made significant annual donations so our operations can grow. We now have seven refrigerator trucks and five branches around New Zealand.
Like its Australian counterpart, OzHarvest, KiwiHarvest has used Goodman's long-term commitment to generate measurable social and environmental change. Each dollar invested blooms NZ$5.16 in social return on investment. The enterprise has delivered 5.5 million meals and saved 1.7 million kilos of food from landfill.
For these reasons, Goodman is proud to support KiwiHarvest as a key charity partner. Deborah explains the organisation's journey and how Goodman has contributed to its success in nourishing those in need.
Bringing KiwiHarvest to life
My background is in healthcare and law. The common thread in everything I did was people. I genuinely wanted to leave the world a better place for my children and grandchildren.
One day I read about kids going to school hungry and another story about 'dumpster divers'. It was a real 'ah-ha' moment. I began to learn about global food rescue organisations and, in 2012 in Dunedin, I set up a company called FoodShare.
I'd take day-old bread, and other supplies, to food banks in my car. Eventually, the car got so full of food I couldn't see out the back window. My local car dealer donated a van. I found out Goodman had supported OzHarvest in Australia for more than 10 years and was seeking a similar cause in New Zealand, so I pitched to them. Goodman backed me in merging FoodShare with KiwiHarvest and has been very supportive ever since.
KiwiHarvest has used Goodman's long-term commitment to generate measurable social and environmental change.
The right people
The social enterprise journey is never a straight line. You have to be open to ideas and ready to make changes. Goodman's support has allowed us to thrive, take on challenges and grab opportunities.
From there, it's good people in your organisation that make those ideas work. I thought very carefully about the skills I needed on the board, for example. We have 17 staff, though we can't pay big salaries.
This financial year, we had around 5,000 hours volunteered. We take care of our volunteers not only because they bring irreplaceable value to the business but also because they take our message into the community. Every volunteer and employee are a brand ambassador for KiwiHarvest.
It's crucial to maintain respect and dignity for everyone, always.
Space for greatness
When I consider how Goodman makes space for greatness for us, the words are 'generosity' and 'the big picture'. They understand the issues facing people and the planet. They want to address issues and effect change.
KiwiHarvest doesn't want to stand still on the war on food waste and Goodman sees that. But sometimes our growth is so fast we can barely keep up. No matter how fast it is, Goodman supports, encourages and enables us.
We're working with the Goodman team now on moving to a new property in Auckland. It's wonderful to have a supporter that doesn't see a problem but instead sees how to fix it.
Like us, Goodman believes that alleviating food waste to help to solve food security is a no brainer. They also want to see demonstrable outcomes for their donated dollars and have appreciated our ability to show that.
KiwiHarvest wouldn't be where we are today without Goodman's support. They've been with us all the way. Our success is thanks to them.
Behind the scenes
We don't give food face-to-face; we give it to 220 charities and community groups across New Zealand that run food support programmes. Even so, we hear such heart-warming stories, like parents saying: 'It's so nice to put fresh fruit in our children's lunch boxes'.
Children often miss school if they have no food to take. Recognising this, some schools offer food support programs and come to us for help. If families are identified as being in need, some schools will deliver to their homes. It's crucial to maintain respect and dignity for everyone, always.