Kaibosh Food Rescue is an amazing Wellington organisation that redistributes unwanted food to charities like The Salvation Army Hope Centre and Women's Refuge. May is their official fundraising month. I was thrilled to put on a dinner (with the help of some friends and Steel Press Cider) for 'Make a Meal in May'. This post explains my experience with tips to help inspire your own dinner.
Make a Meal in May is a fun time to get together with friends to enjoy a home made meal instead of going out. I chose to have a dinner and to make it a bit more formal but that is mainly because I found that way it was easier to organise. Take it or leave it - whatever you can raise helps. My advice is have fun and do something that inspires you. I decided to do mine on the last day of April actually because I couldn't resist writing this post for the first week of May. Read on to find out what went well and what I learnt.
What is Kaibosh?
Kaibosh is based in Wellington and is New Zealand’s first and most well-established food rescue organisation. Robyn and George Langlands founded Kaibosh in 2008. It began with them collecting food from Wishbone and storing it overnight in their home fridge before delivering it to Wellington Women’s Refuge the following day. They soon realised that there was plenty more food to rescue and set about building Kaibosh into what it is today. Kaibosh won the Community Impact and Mega Efficiency Impact categories of the 2015 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, and was the Supreme Winner of the 2012 Trustpower National Community Awards – all honours which have gone a long way towards raising the profile not only of Kaibosh, but of food rescue in New Zealand.
What is Make a Meal in May?
The aim of the game is to make a meal at home, donate what you would have spent on a meal out and put food on the table for fellow Wellingtonians in need. For every $20 donated, Kaibosh can provide the equivalent of 33 meals to those in our community who need it most. You can make whatever kind of meal you like – brunch, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea, maybe even snacks to go with Friday work drinks
How to invite people
I decided to send email people but also make a 'hand drawn' invitation (drawn and coloured on a quiet Saturday afternoon) for a creative touch. I prefer email to Facebook Event Invitations because it feels more personal. Also, it can be hard to predict if people will pull out at the last minute if they just click 'attending'. Luckily I had nearly everyone accept (the lovely Wiki couldn't make it because she was on mummy duties and my pal Finn didn't make it). Having RSVPs meant I wasn't stressing at the last minute about numbers.
Who to invite
The best part of Make a Meal in May is you can invite anyone you want! I thought that seeing I would be blogging about my Make a Meal in May dinner (plus my flatties were all busy at the start of the month) who better to invite than some of my wonderful former interviewees from The Residents? While I sadly couldn't invite everyone (I'm up to 25 interviewees and my mum's kitchen wouldn't fit) I tried to get a few people I wanted to catch up with to tell them more about Kaibosh.
Attendees ended up being Craigy Lee and his wife India of Union Tattoo on Willis Street, Nick and Nevada Leckie of Okewa Rainwear, Elly and Sean of Steel Press Cider (a delicious Wellington cider producer), Nicole Seminiuk and her partner Achilles, Zoe and Tim of 31 Days In (the amazing Instagram page where they produced a picture a day in Wellington recently) and my amazing friend Isabel Poulson who works in a high profile MP's office in the Beehive during the day. I had really enjoyed interviewing all of them and hoped they would get along and form some new connections. Unfortunately, even though I told Isabel I thought there were 8 people attending it ended up 10 - this is mainly down to my lack of counting skills. It all ended up ok in the end though!
I couldn't have put this dinner on if I didn't have people helping me. Zoe from 31 Days In took all the amazing photos. Isabel cooked the main. My Mum kindly cleaned the place before. And Steel Press Cider eased the bill a bit by donating beautiful crisp cider.
I think if you can find friends who want to help and have a certain skill set, go for gold. It makes life a lot easier and the dinner much more relaxing for everyone. It isn't much fun if there is a stressed host running around like a headless chicken!
Cooking the food and choosing drinks
I will admit. Cooking for large groups of people stresses me out. Luckily, I had my amazing friend Isabel on hand who not only designed the menu (pulled pork and white bean cassolette with a hazelnut and feta salad) but cooked up a storm to feed these hungry Residents of Welly. Along with my good old fashioned apple crumble with a seasonal feijoa twist, vanilla ice cream, Lewis Road Creamery cream and truckloads of delicious Steel Press Cider (generously donated by the wonderful Sean and Elly) there was a veritable feast. We also checked for dietary requirements beforehand and did our best to cater to them.
"Along with my good old fashioned apple crumble with a seasonal feijoa twist, vanilla ice cream, Lewis Road Creamery cream and truckloads of delicious Steel Press Cider (generously donated by the wonderful Sean and Elly) there was a veritable feast"
Steel Press Cider was the perfect accompaniment to our meal's Autumnal feeling. Nothing makes you feel cosier than pork, beans, hot apple crumble and tangy apple cider to wash it down with. Their small batch cider is available monthly at Goldings Freedive on Leeds St, at Crumpet Bar next to the Opera House, Charlie Noble and Egmont Street Eatery.
Isabel and I made sure we left plenty of time. We met at mid-day, went shopping together to Countdown Newtown for the basics and then to Moore Wilson's for some bread and a few other bits and pieces. We were accompanied by her beautiful dog Cinnamon. When we got home, I started peeling apples and Isabel got the cassolette going. It was a fun afternoon because we had left enough time before people came around at 5:30pm. Sean and Elly had dropped off the cider in the morning so by the time people arrived it was lovely and cold.
I am indeed flatting. However, the said flat has no table or chairs for people to really sit around and have dinner. It was time to call in the big guns. Mum agreed to let me use their place in the city so everyone could come together with minimal fuss. Lovely Dad was also away that weekend in Sydney, which would mean that we would not be disrupting his usual Saturday night (which is strong on quiet time). The only downside is that Mum's dishwasher was broken. However, this meant the guests ended up volunteering to do the dishes. Special shout out to Sean, Tim and India for helping with those! Nothing brings people together like dishes.
I love being at my parents house and it was so nice to share another side of myself with these great people. It also meant that they could all meet and ask one another questions. Watch this space - there may be some great future collaborations underway.
Make sure you have enough plates, knives and forks and glasses for everyone. While I borrowed Mums (she has lots) you can also buy nice quality bio degradable paper plates and knives from Moore Wilson's.
Make sure you take people's coats and offer them a drink on arrival as it sets the tone of a slightly more 'special dinner' (after all, they are paying to be there). However, bear in mind that you cannot control everything. For example, unfortunately Timmy (who was in attendance) put on a poor show and insisted on barking at everyone non-stop while they arrived. This was very off putting so I had to carry him for the first 40 minutes under my arm. The neighbours must have been appalled. Apart from that, everyone just mixed and yarned a bit, while Sean explained his cider.
I wanted people not to have to wait too long (I also decided to skip the entre and cheese and crackers before so people didn't fill up). We all served ourselves from the Island where Isabel and I had set the food. We sat down in no particular order and people moved around throughout the meal. It was a lovely relaxed vibe which is what I wanted (the dog had finally stopped barking by this stage, thank goodness!).
Collecting Funds for Kaibosh
Because I already knew everyone, I felt I had a certain level of buy in already. It can be awkward asking people for money, so my advice would be to be upfront and go with a fixed amount if need be. I wasn't too worried about how people would donate but I did set a 'cost' for the meal, based on a pretty reasonable night out ($30) and let people donate more if they felt like it.
So it wasn't too awkward, I pimped up a shoebox which meant people could just pop their money in. At the end of the night I was happy to count up the moolah and see we had raised $340 for Kaibosh. A great result. I just went to the bank and deposited the cash and then transferred the money to Kaibosh's account, available on their website'.
Do I need to cover costs myself?
I chose to cover the cost of the shopping myself but you can do it any way you want. You then collect the money at the end of the night and can deposit it to Kaibosh online.
To Sum Up what I learnt from Make a Meal in May!
Make a Meal in May is a fun way to get together with friends and help a great cause. Our dinner will help Kaibosh get 561 meals to people who need them. Food wastage is a huge problem and so is poverty. By bringing together food donors, volunteers and community groups, Kaibosh connects quality surplus food with those who need it most, benefiting both our community and our environment – it’s all about Wellingtonians helping Wellingtonians. Check out the website here.
Big thanks to everyone who attended, Isabel Poulson for her lovely cooking, Sean and Elly for donating the delicious cider, everyone who helped wash up and of course my Mum for having us in her home for the night.
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