Budget advisory service recognised for nutrition efforts

Showing initiative . . . Amy Senada (left) and Lee›Anne Michelle, of the Clutha Budget Advisory Service, which received a CDC Community Service Award for its food parcel initiative. PHOTO: NICK BROOK

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The Clutha District Council has honoured the Clutha Budget Advisory Service (CBAS) with a Community Services Award for its efforts to assist nutrition needs in the district.

In May last year, the CBAS partnered with KiwiHarvest, a Dunedin group working with food retailers and suppliers to rescue food and provide it to community organisations such as the CBAS to distribute free to local people in need.

Every second Thursday morning after a KiwiHarvest delivery to its premises in James St, Balclutha, the CBAS invites clients to collect a free bag of kai.

A total of 60›70 parcels are distributed each KiwiHarvest day, feeding 180›200 people in the community who are finding life tough with rents, mortgages, transport and food prices at record highs.

The food is shared without judgement and to CBAS service co›ordinator Lee›Anne Michelle it was clear early on that volunteer support was needed.

‘‘[CBAS service adviser] Amy [Senada] and I are very grateful to our team of volunteers. We’re like a big family — friends, partners and kids — joining in to put this together for the community. For us it’s about giving food to build relationships. We get to know the people who come in to hear about, understand and become part of their wider networks where additional support is needed,’’ she said.

When the 2021 lockdown was announced, KiwiHarvest delivered a massive, contactless delivery of fruit, vegetables, canned food, meat and snacks.

Volunteers spent the day in the office sorting food, making up parcels and delivering them to households in Balclutha and surrounding areas.

Local businesses and gardeners also share excess food on a regular basis, and members of the community bring in reusable bags for use in distributing food.

KiwiHarvest runs alongside the CBAS’ other community projects in addition to the core work of financial mentoring. The service says the best outcome would be that, sometime in the future, nobody would need this service.