Our Kuala Lumpur team have gotten into the holiday spirit with a fundraising initiative.
The Lost Food Project is an organization that collects and distributes excess food from grocery stores and farmers to schools, refugee organizations, orphanages and those in need. The quality, nutritious surplus food is saved from going to a landfill and is redistributed to those who need it throughout Malaysia regardless of religion, gender, age, disability or ethnic group.
Donation vouchers were for sale that provided 100 meals for people in need. The KL office staff purchased 50 gift vouchers to give as a gift of generosity to a family member or friend. Tamarind matched the 50 vouchers that staff gifted for a total of 10,000 meals raised for people in need!
Because the food is all donated by vendors, the donations cover transporting the food to charities, schools and homes in need. Since their launch in April 2016, The Lost Food Project has been able to rescue enough surplus food to provide almost 2 million meals to people in need and prevent over 1 million kilograms of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.
The organisation works not only to reduce hunger but to keep food from being wasted so the environmental impact is substantial.
You can donate or volunteer with this organisation through their website. It's well worth supporting, they are making a great difference to people's lives!
This is the third year that our team in New Zealand have prepared and served lunch to Marfell Community School at Christmas time. And for a couple of our New Plymouth staff, the alarm clock went off extra early so they could get the hams in the oven!
All 130 students and staff were treated to baked ham buns with coleslaw, fruit and cupcakes. The sun was out so the kids could enjoy their lunches outside in the summer weather. It's a great chance to support the community and to have a little fun! One of the classes even thanked the team with a waiata (song).
Check out the school's post on Facebook for more photos and a video.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Taranaki (BBBS) recently held their Annual General Meeting and were able to reflect on another successful year.
Some of the highlights include 14 new matches being made in the last six months which shows the mentoring programme is continuing to grow. They have over 100 volunteer mentors matched with over 100 children from our community. And they've seen 26 of these matches going strong for more than five years now!
We are proud to support an organisation that is making such a real and positive difference in the lives of so many people. "Although BBBS is a Trust and completely dependent on charitable donations and funding, we remain in a healthy position due to the partnership we have with Tamarind," says Paul Shearer, Chairperson BBBS Trust.
Check out their website to learn about how you can become a mentor.
Each summer the TSB Festival of Lights transforms Pukekura Park (one of New Zealand's premier botanical gardens) into a magical, illuminated wonderland of multi-coloured lights gleaming amongst the trees. Our New Plymouth staff are lucky to be able to attend the festival - along with at least 100,000 others each year.
It runs for seven weeks and there are events for everyone in the family. It's a great excuse to grab a picnic and meet with friends to catch some live music on those lovely summer nights.
That's why we're excited to announce that Tamarind will be sponsoring the Fred Parker Lawn Stage this year! It's a great chance to get behind an incredible local event put on by the New Plymouth District Council and we're pleased to have the opportunity to support it. We'll be helping to showcase emerging and established artists with more intimate performances, in a beautiful outdoor setting. The stage will also include some outside of the box ideas (more on this to come).
The Festival of Lights is a staple in New Plymouth's summertime events calendar and includes:
Rahotu School is committed to giving their students opportunities outside of the classroom. This involves connecting and working within their immediate school environment as well as the wider community. A key focus is connecting to the whenua (land) in which they live and play.
They have established gardens where the students work alongside highly-skilled Teacher Aides to harvest and food the whole school twice a term. This year they have been working hard to design, prepare and plant an orchard along the school's western boundary. Tamarind has been supporting the Teacher Aide's salary as well as some of the plants required for the project.
A few of our staff joined in the planting of the boundary trees this month and look forward to seeing the rest of the orchard evolve as each phase is complete. Once it's set up, each family will be invited to plant a fruit tree when their child enrols at Rahotu School.
Thanks to the School Principal, Brigitte Luke, for the chance to be involved!
One of the projects our sponsorship funds supported this year is On the House. They are a New Plymouth-based organisation that redistributes surplus food in the community. They are run completely by volunteers at this stage. We provided kickstart funding to help them get up and running as they are a fairly new organisation, having only started their project in November 2017.
Each week on their open day, their volunteers collect excess food from local cafes and eateries and bring it back to their centrally-located (and kindly-donated) distribution space. The collections are done on foot in the CBD and by car in the outer suburbs. From 4:30pm, the food is given, free of charge, to anyone who has patiently lined up to receive it.
This initiative has benefits on a couple fronts - it reduces the amount of perfectly-good food going in the rubbish bin, and it provides meals to those in the community who need it. There are no forms to fill out or questions to answer - one of their foundation values is about distribution without barriers. It doesn't matter if those who access the service are on the benefit, or earning income because ultimately this food was going to be wasted if it wasn't for On the House.
There are several organisations like this in operation throughout New Zealand with the long-running ones based in Wellington (The Free Store) and Palmerston North (Just Zilch). They are all working hard to create communities for people who might otherwise be treated as a "problem to fix."
We're excited that we were able to help get this project off the ground and already they have seen their average weekly numbers grow from the low 20's to nearly 50 people accessing the service each week. And they are saving 200-500 food items each week from the rubbish bin.
If you want to volunteer or make a donation to this community project, check them out on Facebook.