Feeding Bellies not Bins at Everybody Eats
Liz could never have dreamed how her life was about to change when she noticed an advert for volunteers in a restaurant window last Spring. Everybody Eats, Onehunga, opened that very same week. “I figured I could chop onions, carrots and other vegetables so why not give it a go?” she decided.
With the mission of ‘feeding bellies, not bins’, Everybody Eats creates over 800 plates of food a week from ingredients that are donated or destined for landfill in its ‘pay as you feel’ dining experiences in Onehunga and Auckland’s K-Road. “Humans waste around one-third of the food we produce and at the same time one in six New Zealanders are going hungry” says founder, Nick Loosley. Everybody Eats also deliver 90 meal packs a week (feeding around 500 people) to vulnerable families through their partnerships with The Wright Family Foundation and Blue Light, so they’re always on the look-out for helpers in their kitchens and front of house.
Liz is now one of the longest serving volunteers at Everybody Eats, having notched up over 200 hours behind the scenes; peeling, chopping and dish-washing. It became her second home. She’s a popular figure in the Onehunga kitchen - a kind and welcoming soul who’s always ready to guide newer members of the team. “I'm not the world's best cook and I make mistakes, but nobody gives me a hard time and all everyone wants to do here is help. I'm sure I hold the record for cutting myself. I bring my own plasters!”. She describes it as ‘absolute enjoyment’ to work in the ‘amazing atmosphere’ in the Everybody Eats kitchen, making tasty meals out of food that would otherwise be wasted. “People volunteer at Everybody Eats because they want to make a difference.
"Individually, it would be harder, but as a collective…and there are a lot of us, we can deliver something really worthwhile for our community”
She has a particular soft spot for resident English chef, Jamie Johnston, the culinary maestro who creates extraordinarily delicious food out of an unpredictable daily delivery of produce. “He’s someone I’ve learnt so much from, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met” she said.
Amanda Butland, Onehunga Restaurant Manager, appreciates the tremendous value that volunteers bring. “We can’t operate without these wonderful people donating their time and they soon become part of our family. I look forward to coming to the restaurant knowing that I have such a positive, committed bunch of people to work with. It’s been a real privilege to have Liz on board with her positivity, compassion, hard work, and wicked sense of humour. Volunteers like Liz are what make the Everybody Eats experience so special.”
Everybody Eats is bidding a sad farewell to Liz, who will soon be moving to Nelson. “It’s going to be hard to replace the incredible experience of working as part of the Everybody Eats team, but I’ll be looking for something similar in my new home town. I’ll never forget all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in the Everybody Eats kitchen” said Liz …and Everybody Eats certainly won’t be the same without its Liz.
Find out more about how to get involved in supporting the Everybody Eats mission by visiting their website, or popping along to sample some delicious food at one of their Auckland restaurants.
If you want to help others or a cause take a look at our current volunteering opportunities to help make a difference in your community. Or if you are a non-profit organisation and need some helpers, you can find out how to add your volunteer listings here. For corporates, take a look at our employee volunteering programme to see how we can help your team help the community. Otherwise, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi - The benefit of working together