A Pāpāmoa mother who helped set up a community food stall has had to pay hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket after people smashed up and dumped broken goods at the site.
Now the food stall that benefitted many in the community over three years has been taken down.
Kelly O'Leary and her neighbour Rachel Rich set up the Papamoa Food Swap stall on the corner of Parton and Papamoa Beach Rds in June 2018 as a way to help the community.
Donated fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, canned food and fresh baking were stacked on the stand and people were encouraged to take what they needed and replace it with their own donations of food from their gardens or cupboards.
But in the last year, stained deck chairs, old cots, ripped clothes and other broken goods were being dumped at the stall every single week and the pair were racking up huge dump costs to get rid of it all, Rich told the Bay of Plenty Times.
Then a couple of months ago, someone came to the stall and ripped out all the secured wooden crates where the food was kept, she said.
"Enough is enough. We were just trying to do something good."
The stall was outside Rich's home and she said she would come outside most days to find something new dumped on her lawn.
"It wasn't a good look."
She said people were using them as a way to get rid of things they didn't want at no cost to them. However, this cost fell on Rich, who had forked out hundreds of dollars in dump fees to dispose of what was left on her lawn.
She had posted on the stall's Facebook page a number of times warning people that if it did not stop, they would have to shut down.
"There was plenty of warning. A lot of chances for it to stop."
She said the initiative had worked well in other places but unfortunately it had not worked here.
The pair did not plan to do it again and the stall had been dismantled.
The stall had initially gone well with food being put in and taken out within a day.
"The need was and still is definitely there."
But the dumping "spoiled" it for everyone else, she said.
Rich said she was feeling "gutted but also relieved" about closing it down and looked forward to not having to stress anymore.
She said she had multiple sclerosis and the stress it caused her was too much.
"It felt like a full-time job by the end of it."
The Facebook page, which boasted close to 700 followers, would also be shut down.