By Sally Kidson
Tahunanui's Beach Cafe patrons have made a generous $1000 donation to a Christchurch trust that helps low-income people struggling with the impact of the February earthquake.
Beach Cafe owner Neal Bardsley posted a cheque to
Mr Bardsley said cafe patrons contributed $700 towards the fund through donations and baking sold at the cafe with proceeds collected for Christchurch. He had topped up the fund with the remaining $300.
He had also originally wanted to donate $200 to Christchurch woman Jaimita de Jongh and her family after reading in the Nelson Mail about the family getting their car broken into while it was parked at the Hackett car park. The family was on a quake break from Christchurch and had personal items, including torches, cellphones, and clothing stolen and Mr Bardsley felt they might need their faith in Nelson restored.
Ms de Jongh said she was surprised and humbled by Mr Bardsley's offer, but she could not accept it as others were in greater need. She worked with a lot of charitable trusts in Christchurch and suggested the Addington Action Group as a worthy cause.
Organiser Mike Peter said the group was run by volunteers and was set up the day after Christchurch's devastating February earthquake.
The group provided help and support for people in five lower income southern Christchurch suburbs. The help it provided ranged from grocery vouchers for householders struggling after losing jobs following the quakes, to fixing uninsured earthquake homes for the elderly, solo mothers and other needy recipients. It also organised volunteers to carry out working bees along the same lines as the Student Army.
The $1000 donation from the Beach Cafe would allow it to undertake repairs on two homes. During the next three years the group expected to fix 200 uninsured quake-damaged homes at an average cost of $500 for each home and using several days of volunteer labour, he said.
He welcomed the donation and said the trust relied solely on donations and all money it received went directly to help people and was not used on overheads, or for wages.
Mr Bardsley said it was great to be able to support such a worthy cause and be confident the money would be spent on needy recipients.
Many Beach Cafe regulars had extended family in Christchurch and the cafe was also frequented by Cantabrians visiting Nelson on breaks from the city, he said.
"They can do a lot with that money ... it could be the difference between people having to move out or making their homes capable of being lived in."
He was proud his patrons had got behind the cause. "Times are hard for everyone. It's great to see a lot of people do care and are prepared to front up. I think that's what sets New Zealand apart from a lot of other places; that we do care very, very much."For more information on the group visit addingtonaction.org.nz.