A Tauranga woman who desperately wants to help survivors of a large flood in Laos is raising money the best way she knows how - with donuts.
Geena Dykstra's Donation Donuts have gained plenty of attention since she began making them at the beginning of this week. People are buying boxes of nine for $25 or four for $12.50, and so far she has earned $2000 towards her cause.
It has meant long days and plenty of hard work but it was all she could do to help, she said.
On July 23, a hydroelectric dam in Attapeu province collapsed sending torrents of water through villages in south-east Laos. At least 20 people have been killed, and more than 100 are missing, the BBC reported.
More than 6600 people were made homeless, Lao News Agency reported
Dykstra, who owns and operates Jhai Kai food bar in Birch Ave, said she felt "broken" hearing the news.
Dykstra lived in Laos for nearly three years, working as an English teacher. She still has contacts with students and friends and was horrified to see the severity of the damage wreaked by the flood. Some students were from the places worst affected.
"With this, I cried a lot. I had to do something, whatever I could, even if it's just raising a bit of money. And something I can do is food, so I just started," Dykstra said.
"I have a passion for food and helping people. I thought I'd merge those two together."
Dykstra has been back and running the business for two years. She said she still had a strong connection to Laos which was reflected in the eatery.
"Jhai in Laos means 'heart' and kai, well that means 'food' here, and the orange is based on the monks over there. Basically, I had the dream of one day, once I've paid the business off, to give back to the Laos people."
Dykstra saw the horrifying footage of death and destruction in what she said is some of the poorest places in Laos. She was concerned money given to the Laos Government would not reach the places and people most in need, so she was working with a trusted, anonymous organisation over there to ensure direct aid, she said.
From the donut sales, every cent is given to the organisation. The cost of ingredients, labour and packaging come out of Dykstra's pocket.
"I spent two years over there not getting paid, so it doesn't worry me, and I can't be over there so ... It's not just another cause," Dykstra said.
She plans to keep making the donuts for another week.
* If you would like to help, or simply enjoy donuts, Jhai Kai can be found at 82 Birch Ave during the week.