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Saving lives with shortbread and ShelterBoxes

SALLY KIDSON
Last updated 11:16 20/02/2014
Jimmy Griffith
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

BIKE MISSION: Jimmy Griffith with his bike and the ShelterBox that he will be towing to raise funds to help give people in developing countries access to shelter, clean water and food.

shortbread
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ
SHORT ANSWER: Mr Griffith sells this shortbread to raise money for people in third world countries.

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A conversation with his lawyer, witnessing a Nepalese women breaking stones for $1 a day and shortbread have all changed Jimmy Griffith's life.

Jimmy was a commercial fisherman for 19 years and says that though he had a pretty good life he knew plenty of people were really struggling.

"I went to see a lawyer about donating my property to a charity once I died," he says. "However, he advised me to do something now and not wait until I am dead."

He became involved in a charitable trust that helped fund a school in Nepal. On a 2010 visit to Nepal he came across a woman called Zarita.

"She was breaking bags of stones for a dollar a day, and she was sick, so we gave her some medicine," he says. "It was very emotional; she shed tears of appreciation that someone had given her a helping hand."

After that trip Jimmy set up The Shortbread Trust to help provide the basics of life for people in third world countries. He sells shortbread biscuits for 50 cents each at the Trafalgar St business he owns, Shortbread Cottage Backpackers, to raise money for the trust. He also sells the shortbread at other outlets around Nelson.

"Two pieces of shortbread gives me one dollar," Jimmy says, "And that dollar goes a long way overseas and can make a real difference to someone's life."

The trust aims to provide resources to people missing the basic essentials of life such as shelter and clean drinking water in third world countries. It also helps poor children and their communities by providing seed and tools for farming, funding education and micro-finance projects.

It has no administration costs, and 100 per cent of all donations go to the charity projects .

The trust also supports the work of ShelterBox, an organisation that provides emergency shelter around the world for people affected by disasters.

On March 1 Jimmy will set off on a 2800-kilometre charity cycle ride around the South Island to raise awareness, and donations, for both The Shortbread Trust and ShelterBox.

He plans to cycle through 50 South Island small towns and cities and will be towing an empty ShelterBox. He aims to ride on average about 50km a day.

He will also launch his idea of the $1 magic on the trip.

"Each ShelterBox costs $1500 so I came up with the idea of one dollar magic," Jimmy says.

"The idea being that finding one person to give you a million dollars would be hard, but imagine if you had a million people giving one dollar a month?

"The magic in that dollar would be huge to someone with no home, food or fresh water."

Jimmy wants to raise money for Shelter Box, a farming project and a clean water well project on the trip. Kaiteriteri's Kimi Ora Eco Resort has already donated $1500 - enough for a shelter box.

Jimmy has had great support so far, including from the makers of 3B sandfly and mossie repellent and R & R Sport.

The first leg of his journey is from Nelson to Pelorus. He is leaving from R & R Sport, Rutherford St, at 10.30am on March 1.

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Donations to Jimmy's trip, or to take part in his $1 dollar magic campaign can be made at: The Shortbread Trust Bank account: 03 1354 0301921 00, New Zealand Charity Commission number CC48771, or through the charity donation website Give A Little. Donations can also be made at NBS.

  • ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity that delivers emergency shelter to people affected by disasters. A ShelterBox contains a range of equipment including a tent for an extended family, blankets, tools, mosquito nets, solar lamps, cooking utensils and even a children's activity pack. Since 2000 Shelterbox has distributed over 130,000 boxes. ShelterBoxes are stored in warehouses all over the world. The cost of each box is $1500.See theshortbreadtrust.com for more information.

- Nelson

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