Community Scoop

Wellington non-profit needs free carpark for electric van

Press Release – The Free Store

Wellington non-profit needs free carpark for electric van to be used for zero emission food redistribution.Wellington non-profit needs free carpark for electric van to be used for zero emission food redistribution.


Wellington, New Zealand (Monday 16th April 2018) – After being donated a fully-electric van by a generous local philanthropist, The Free Store is seeking a free secure carpark in the CBD where it can be parked.

The van, a Nissan eNV200 donated by Hopper Street community enterprise hub, will allow The Free Store to reduce significantly more food waste and feed more vulnerable people in the community with no carbon emissions emitted.

Currently each day, with the use of converted shopping trolleys, The Free Store collects quality surplus food from 65 cafes, bakeries, restaurants and catering companies, redistributing it freely to those in need. The Free Store serves 100 people each night from their Willis Street store, with customers coming from all walks of life; including the homeless, unemployed, elderly, solo parents, those with long-term health problems, students and struggling families. Annually The Free Store rescues and redistributes $2.6 million worth of perfectly edible food.

The Free Store wishes to build on partnerships that see the most vulnerable fed, such as their initiative with Housing New Zealand at Dixon Street flats. For the last year The Free Store has delivered food parcels freely to the door of 16 “high needs” households with barriers to accessing The Free Store – including the elderly, those with limited mobility and those experiencing mental distress.

Waiting in the wings are a number of new food suppliers – such as Wishbone at Wellington Airport and Icon Catering at Te Papa and Parliament – who are ready and willing to donate surplus food when the van is in action.

News of the new electric van has been well received by the community with Gazley Nissan jumping on board as The Free Store’s vehicle partner to provide yearly servicing, tyre replacement and warranty on parts for the next three years.

The only roadblock to the The Free Store’s growth is not having a carpark nearby to their premises at 211 Willis Street. The team have pursued every lead within their networks to no avail; including carpark buildings, Wellington City Council parking and private households nearby. They are now calling to a wider audience in the hope of finding a carpark that can be provided for this charitable cause.

The Free Store ideally needs a carpark meeting the following requirements:

• Within a few blocks of 211 Willis Street

• Secure 24/7 access, but open to non-secured options

• Stable tenancy

• Free or less-than-market price

• Next to a standard AC socket for overnight charging (The Free Store can pay the associated electricity costs)


“It has been my observation that the provision of food has done more than feed a hungry person; rather it has provided an opportunity to connect, to give a sense of value, to relieve a burden and create a sense of community. I have seen the benefits for our Dixon Street community and I would encourage any initiative to be able to extend this service to a wider group.”

Sara Calman, Case Manager

Housing New Zealand

About The Free Store

The Free Store is an innovative non-profit that redistributes quality surplus food from 65 inner-city eateries to people in need from their store that is built from a converted shipping container. Since October 2014 The Free Store has been serving 100 people per night and redistributing over 370,000 items of quality food per year with a retail value of $2.6 million.

Benjamin Johnson, Director of The Free Store and Wellingtonian of The Year (2017) finalist, is available for interviews to discuss the organisation’s need and the positive impact this will make on the community.

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