Fridge installed in Auckland CBD gives homeless access to fresh food
The door is open to anyone - that's the message behind a community fridge installed in Auckland's CBD on Wednesday.
It's the brainchild of zero-waste advocate Amanda Chapman and has been set up in collaboration with "Love Food Hate Waste" and Auckland Council.
"It's a fridge; it doesn't discriminate. It's open 24/7 - anyone can come down and help themselves," says Ms Chapman.
The fridge has two purposes - to help the needy and to also eliminate food waste. "There is unfortunately quite a large community of homeless people in the CBD. They're not getting the nutrition they need," says Ms Chapman.
The 25-year-old says she worked in a supermarket when she was in high school and was "horrified" at the amount of food wasted. "One day I had to go and take all the rubbish from the checkouts out into the bins, and when I opened the bins they were just full of bread, cakes and all in their plastic packaging too."
The Love Food Hate Waste website says Kiwis throw out more than 122,000 tonnes of food each year - the equivalent of 213 jumbo jets of food.
Bread is the most commonly thrown out food, with New Zealanders wasting 20 million loaves a year.
Scarecrow cafe and restaurant manager Ben Barton on Wednesday donated bread, salads and pastries to the community fridge. He says the food industry is often wasteful because it's hard to predict how much will be sold.
Homeless man Cedric Snowden visited the fridge on Wednesday, taking away some oranges and pastries. He says he regularly goes without healthy nutritional food and would like to see more community fridges installed around Auckland.
A group of volunteers will check the fridge twice a day to make sure the food is safe to eat.
The fridge has been set up in a new pop-up garden on the corner of Albert and Wellesley St. The space - described as an "inner city backyard" - will ideally be used for yoga workshops and as a breakaway area for office workers. It features seesaws for children as well as phone charging stations.