Charity jam-maker hits 10,000 jar milestone

By Peter de Graaf

A Northland pensioner whose efforts to raise money for hospice were nearly quashed by health authorities three years ago has notched up a fundraising milestone.

Gloria Crawford, of Waipapa, delivered her 10,000th jar of jam to Hospice Mid-Northland's charity shop in Kerikeri last Friday. Over the past seven years the 71-year-old estimates her volunteer pickling, bottling and jam-making has earned the hospice shop $50,000.

Friday's milestone was a far cry from the events of 2009, when a complaint from an unknown source saw health authorities swoop on the hospice shop and her goodies pulled from the shelves.

There was no problem with her jam, but the fact it was not made in a dedicated commercial kitchen put her on the wrong side of food safety rules.

The ensuing ''jam scandal'' made national headlines and had politicians scrambling for cover.

Unwilling to give up her fundraising efforts Mrs Crawford took her battle public and went through a lengthy certification process, which included a food safety expert flying up from Wellington to watch her make a batch of jam.

Her jams, pickles and sauces were eventually allowed back on the shelves, and the government promised a revamp of the nation's archaic food safety laws.

Mrs Crawford said she was now slowing down and making ''only'' 25 jars a week instead of the 50 she used to deliver every Friday.

Despite the controversy of three years ago, the authorities she had had to deal with had been respectful and now left her alone.

''I just go on and do my own thing. I don't want to rock the boat.''

She started her charity work when she and husband Ian lived at Mangamuka for 32 years, with the proceeds going to the local St John and fire brigade. After the couple retired to Waipapa, Hospice Mid-Northland became the beneficiary of her indefatigable jam-making.

The Crawfords don't just give up their time and fruit to help hospice - they estimate jam-making adds an extra $100 a month to their power bills.

- Northern Advocate

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