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Hawke’s Bay joins social supermarket movement with Nourished for Nil and Foodstuffs

A “trailblazing” low-cost initiative to combat food insecurity has made its way to Hawke’s Bay, giving people in need choice, not chance, when it comes to their meals.

Come September 19, an unassuming building in Napier’s industrial area will be transformed into the region’s first social supermarket, a place where people who typically use a foodbank service can choose what items they want as opposed to receiving a traditional food parcel.

It’s being spearheaded by local food rescue non-profit Nourished for Nil in partnership with Foodstuffs and various local food suppliers.

Nourished for Nil founder Christina McBeth said the organisation was approached by Foodstuffs about a year ago about being a partner.

She admitted that, at first, the organisation was a “bit hesitant” because it was a different framework from what they were usually involved in, even though it would be addressing the same societal challenges.

After seeing the success of other models, they decided to go ahead, partnering with Pak’nSave Tamatea to get the ball rolling on the premise at 47 Edmundson St, Onekawa.

A social supermarket runs on a points-based system with heavily subsidised food for sale, which McBeth says is about “dignity and choice”.

“We don’t want this to become an alternative to shopping and all people do from now on. This is to empower and help.”

A client is referred by an agency or connector and given a certain number of points depending on how many people are in the family.

“A single individual is automatically given 55 points. A large family could get up to 75 points,” McBeth said.

The items on the shelf have a points value, so people shop with their points rather than money.

There will be an up-front minimum spend of $20, but if people can pay more, they are encouraged to do so.

Points for items would be equivalent to supermarket prices.

“Between $0-2 is one point and $2-4 is two points, so you’re going to find things like meat for four or five points because that’s the equivalent you will find in a supermarket,” McBeth said.

Access to the store would be granted once every month for a period of nine months, but this is subject to change depending on community response.

Napier’s social supermarket will be the eighth for Pak’nSave owners Foodstuffs North Island. It is being set up on existing Nourished for Nil leased property in Onekawa.

“We’ve refurbished it, which is really handy because we haven’t had to take on a new lease or anything like that,” McBeth said.

While being run under Nourished for Nil, the programme will have its own finances, funding and staff. The organisation said it would build up a volunteer base accordingly.

McBeth said it was timely considering the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

“We have families today that a year ago were not in the situation they are in and that’s all due to the cyclone. There is a huge amount of hardship not at all helped by inflation and the fact Hawke’s Bay was hit hard.”

Foodstuffs North Island Social Supermarket lead Willa Hand said the group had been wanting to bring the project to the region for a long time and were fortunate to be working with Nourished for Nil.

“Our local stores have supported Christina and the team for a number of years, and in the aftermath of the cyclone, when we were providing Pak’nSave gift cards to those most affected,,” she said.

“Nourished for Nil are doing some epic mahi in the community and this social supermarket, which is the first of its kind for the region, is going to be a real game changer by providing dignity and choice for families who need a helping hand.”

McBeth said Nourished for Nil were still on the lookout for help from local growers, manufacturers and volunteers to help run the store and provide food for free or at a discounted price. Article supplied by NZ Herald: Hawke’s Bay joins social supermarket movement with Nourished for Nil and Foodstuffs - NZ Herald

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