An interview with Everybody Eats Onehunga Manager, Amanda

An interview with Everybody Eats Onehunga Manager, Amanda


The amount of food waste in New Zealand is tragic, but it becomes truly heartbreaking when you look at the scale of food poverty. Everybody Eats, a locally-based, not-for-profit, founded by Nick Loosley and works to combat food waste and alleviate food poverty by providing a nutritious three-course meal to Kiwis who often have to go without, using food that would otherwise be thrown away. 

Everybody Eats started with a pay-as-you-feel pop-up restaurant at Gemmayze St in St Kevins Arcade and has since opened pop-up restaurants in Onehunga, Wellington and Papamoa. Its impact has been significant; to date, Everybody Eats has made and served more than 75,000 meals and saved over 56 tonnes of food from landfills in the meantime. 

We recently caught up with Onehunga Manager, Amanda to discuss how she became involved with Everybody Eats, how to get involved yourself and more. Here at decent, we volunteer at the Onehunga Everybody Eats once a month and could not recommend being a part of it enough.  

How did you come to be involved with Everybody Eats?

I wanted to do something meaningful with my spare time so I looked around at places where I could volunteer and Everybody Eats made the most sense to me as it was focused on everything I am passionate about.... helping people and the planet.

What made you want to join Everybody Eats?

I fell in love with it on my first volunteer shift - it made sense to me and I knew that it was something I could help with. I enjoyed the diversity of people we were feeding, the quality of the food, and the fun culture of the volunteer teams. It was serendipity really - the job I now have was just being drafted up ready to post for job seekers to apply at the time - so I went for it and the rest is history 

What does your role encompass? 

I have loads of variety in my week which I love. I spend a bit of time on the road with the Everybody Eats van picking up rescued food from our suppliers on scheduled runs and then some ad hoc rescues as they crop up. I coordinate the volunteers and rosters for Onehunga and general admin stuff and then I run Front of House service for 5 evenings a week at our Onehunga Pay-as-you-Feel restaurant. There is also the occasional fundraising event that I'll manage.

What do enjoy most about working with Everybody Eats?

I love that I get to see the whole process from rescuing the food, seeing it being sorted, menus being planned, and meals prepared, through to the dinner table. I then get to see the end result with happy diners enjoying a tasty, fulfilling meal. I'm very grateful to be involved in every step. Also, I love the connections that are made between volunteers and diners. 

How many volunteers does Everybody Eats have?

We have 4,300 volunteers on our nationwide database. We have regular volunteers that come once or twice a week and the rest of our rosters are made up of people requesting shifts to fit in with their schedules. We also have 'group' volunteers from various companies and organisations who sign up on a monthly basis. 

How can someone volunteer? 

It's very easy to sign up through our website Create a personal profile and then all they need to do is login and request shifts when it suits them. I make the rosters up from those who have stated their availability.

What experience do you need?

None at all! We use a buddy system for first-time volunteers so they are taken under the wing of an experienced volunteer and shown the ropes. After about 2-3 shifts they may then be ready to train a first-timer

Whats a shift look like for an Everybody Eats Volunteer? 

The roles are split into the following:

Kitchen Prep - 12noon- 5 pm (ish) - involves sorting and packing rescue food, helping to prepare the evening's three-course meal, and maybe some cleaning. Common sense is key when working in a busy kitchen with sharp knives and hot ovens but volunteers are supported by the chef in charge and given specific duties and training.

Kitchen Service  - 5:30-8:30 pm (ish) - Helping to plate up the meals and clean down

Dishwashing - 5:30-8:30 pm (ish) - Washing dishes and clean down

Front of House  - 5:30-8:30 pm (ish) - Serving the guests their meals at the tables, clean down/reset for the morning

Volunteers are briefed on arrival and shown around if it's their first time. Each is allocated and task or section.

The shifts are fast-paced, fun, and always try to feed everyone during the evening shifts and encourage volunteers to join the diners in the restaurant for dinner