Food for Love’s co-founder and operations manager, Rebecca (Bex) Sarginson, has been recognised for her contribution to the Upper Clutha community by the Rotary Club of Wānaka.
The club awarded a Paul Harris Award to Bex at a function in Wānaka on Tuesday January 23.
“It is obvious that without Bex’s driving force and passion for the community, Food For Love would not be the organisation it is today,” Rotary Club of Wānaka president Marie Fitchett said.
“The Rotary Club of Wānaka acknowledges your [Bex] foresight, inspiration, and selfless dedication to the Food For Love Trust.”
The award is named after the founder of Rotary, Paul Harris. An award in his name, the Paul Harris fellowship, is held in the highest regard throughout the Rotary world.
“I was blown away … it is a nice recognition of what Food for Love does,” Bex said.
“We’re going into our eighth year … and it’s great to see where it is now and it can only but get better.”
Bex was born and raised in Hāwea, a solo parent of two daughters who has juggled many hats without compromising her personal life.
In 2016 Bex and friend Louise Carney founded Food For Love, an idea she attributed to her mother who taught her that generosity and kindness, such as a willingness to do something for someone in need of support, would often arise through one’s own experiences.
This is the foundation on which Food For Love was built.
As Food For Love became established in the Upper Clutha, Bex and her team of volunteers and supporters worked tirelessly through the Covid-19 emergency despite resources being stretched to the limit.
At the end of 2019 Food For Love became a registered charity with a governing Board of Trustees. Bex was appointed Executive Officer, with this title changing to Operations Manager in 2023.
The transition to Charitable Trust status revealed the extent that Bex and her supporters had dedicated themselves to their commitment. There are almost 180 current Food For Love volunteers, some of whom are persons who have benefited from the Trust's support, in their time of need.
One of their most significant achievements occurred in 2022 when 8,100 meals were provided to people facing unexpected challenges in the Upper Clutha.
Marie congratulated Bex on her award and acknowledged and thanked the many volunteers who support Food for Love.
‘On behalf of the Upper Clutha Community and those who benefit from the workings of the Trust, we recognise and thank the volunteers for their support,” she said.
“We congratulate Bex on this well-deserved Paul Harris Award.”