Foodbank saved thanks to generous Kiwis

A struggling Christchurch foodbank facing eviction has been handed a lifeline by viewers of Three's The AM Show.

Last week 0800HUNGRY was $30,000 and three months behind in its rent, given until today to pay up.

Founder and chief executive Kerry Bensemann told The AM Show this morning the organisation was still $6000 short, despite a fundraising drive and Givealittle campaign.

"We've been operating for 16 years reasonably successfully, but you do have to live on the smell of an oily rag... That's just the way it is in the industry we're in," he said.

"We're a non-denominational bank, and therefore our funding comes from what we generate ourselves and what we get through the gaming trusts."

The donations came flooding in after his appearance on The AM Show- about $27,000 in the next half-hour.

"You're marvellous," said Mr Bensemann. I can't say anything else. Just thank you New Zealand."

0800HUNGRY is New Zealand's largest foodbank, and has delivered more than 200,000 food parcels since 2001, averaging around 250 a week. Mr Bensemann says their packages are "very large, and more than "a bag with a few cans".

"Everything's delivered - it goes to the door. So we're able to track it from the time we pick it up, all the way through, out the door and to the people themselves."

The large packages cost money however, as does the rent - including GST, that comes to about $130,000 a year.

Mr Bensemann says the money raised on Thursday morning will not only get them up to date with their rent, but ensure the charity's four full-time staff members are paid and plans can be made without the threat of eviction over their heads.

"We have a vision for the future and that's what we're going to be able to work on now."

Mr Bensemann was honoured with the Queen's Service Medal in June.


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