Just Zilch’s application to become a charity will not be fast-tracked despite an “overwhelming” response to news they are on desperate street.
The free food store’s management has been fighting to make it a charitable trust for the past 18 months, but have been hamstrung because they cannot prove they are only helping people in poverty.
Without access to the funding options available to registered charities, Just Zilch management has warned it might have to close its doors in three months.
Charities Services general manager Brendon Ward said they had been assisting Just Zilch but they had not yet been able to accept the applications because of the vagaries of the documents they had received.
“We try to provide a service that helps people through their applications but we can only do so much; we can’t write the application for them.”
Wording was important and they could not just accept an organisation was a charity because the vibe of it was good, he said.
“The integrity of the register is really important.
“We want the public to have trust and faith in the organisations we consider charities and so it’s not uncommon for us to go back to people applying once or twice.
“We do need to take our time to ensure we make the right decision.
“That decision has to be based on the organisation’s application and on the 400 years of case law that has gone before it.”
Mr Ward said Just Zilch’s 18 month battle was “not an ordinary case” as it had been hampered by the timing of Charities Services – formerly the Charities Commission – merger with the Department of Internal Affairs.
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Story by Chris Hyde. 27 April 2013