Most grateful: Baskets of Blessing volunteer coordinator Lee Nicholson


A Queenstown charity that’s dispensed thousands of meals to out-of-work locals is counting its blessings.

Baskets of Blessing is one of three charities that will benefit from a crowdfunding event in Auckland next Wednesday run by philanthropy organisation, 10×10 New Zealand.

Last year’s inaugural event, pitched at young professionals, raised $13,000 or three Auckland charities collectively.

However, founder Alaina McGregor says this year they wanted charities around NZ working in areas impacted by Covid-19.

Committee volunteer, former Queenstown resident Renee Raymond, a friend of McGregor’s, suggested Baskets of Blessing.

‘‘What really appealed to us was how much they had scaled up, so quickly, to meet that growing need in the community, and become an essential service.’’

Chefs who’d lost their jobs were among those cooking the meals, McGregor points out.

At Wednesday’s event, representatives of the three charities will be making
Dragons’ Den-style pitches.

McGregor expects the Queenstown charity will make between $5000 and $10,000, based on what audience members are paying to attend.

But on top of that there’ll be live auctions, and anyone can donate during the livestreaming of the event via 10×10’s website,

Baskets of Blessing volunteer coordinator Lee Nicolson, who’ll address the audience, says they’re very grateful to have been selected.

‘‘As a Queenstown charity, it is incredible to get this recognition and support, regardless of the outcome.’’

At the height of the crisis, her group was preparing and distributing about 1000 meals weekly.

For the past six to eight weeks they’ve been giving away about 600 meals a week — ‘‘demand’s still very high’’.

And about 50 volunteers have been helping out on any given week.

Nicolson says donations have fallen away, so 10×10’s assistance is ‘‘very timely’’.

She also likes the fact it’s helping to instil philanthropy among younger generations.