‘Waste not, want not’ is a pretty common attitude in the Bay of Plenty and more than a dozen local supermarkets are now giving back to those in need. Think of all the unsold fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious sweet treats, savouries, salads and sandwiches that wind up in the rubbish every day. Well, not in the Bay!

Good Neighbour is a locally-run charitable trust that rescues food that would otherwise be thrown away. Their Food Rescue service now diverts about 10 tonnes of food from landfill every week by collecting unused items and redistributing them to 65 charities and social support agencies.

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Around 15,000 volunteer hours now go into Good Neighbour projects and activities every year. It’s all about tapping into something that’s bigger than ourselves.

Anyone is welcome to join in the fun – even if you’re just passing through. If gardening’s your thing, feel free to turn up at their Bethlehem or Welcome Bay Community Gardens on Wednesday or Friday mornings, or lend a helping hand on a Good Neighbour project on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1:00 pm –4:00 pm. Just phone the office on +64 7 394 4249 to find out what’s happening.

Good Neighbour’s amazing army of 500+ volunteers carry out all sorts of backyard projects for people who need a hand. They deliver 300m³ of firewood every year to those who can’t afford it, and carefully cultivate more than 150 community garden beds to help people grow their own fruit and vegetables. They’ve become the beating heart and soul of our region and are inspiring other communities to do similar good works around the globe.

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The newest project arm, Whānau Journey, sees Good Neighbour walk alongside 10 local families to help transform all aspects of their lives – from their home and garden to their family budget, health and wellbeing. The contract is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and aims to break life-long inter-generational habits by connecting families with the social support they require.

Local businesses are also keen to get on-board and regularly sign up to volunteer their entire staff for a day. It feels good to connect with your community in a meaningful way, and volunteering on a Good Neighbour project is a great team bonding exercise and morale boost. It’s how we like to roll in the Bay.

Good Neighbour started back in 2011 as a small group of friends who wanted to make positive changes to their local neighbourhoods and has now grown into a substantial movement. It has six main arms – Food Rescue, Neighbourhood Projects, Community Kitchen, Community Gardens, Firewood Department and Whānau Journey.
Visit goodneighbour.co.nz to find out more.