It began as a modest goal to fit out 10 portable cabins with furniture to help vulnerable and struggling Northlanders find a sense of place, and have somewhere to call home.
And we totally smashed it.
The Northern Advocate's Hidden Homeless campaign - a joint effort with Whakamanamai Whānau Trust, The Hits Northland and Solomon Group – has been an outstanding success.
Truckloads of quality furniture and household items, along with donations of several thousand dollars, have been handed over by generous readers in Northland, Auckland, Australia, and even as far as Seattle.
Whakamanamai Whānau Trust director Rhonda Zielinski, who runs the Whare to the Whenua scheme which helps Northlanders with nowhere else to go, said the outcome of the campaign has been "overwhelming" and has made a tangible difference to people's lives.
"Through the generosity of Northlanders and beyond, we will be able to furnish housing options for 50 to 100 families," she said.
"We've had donation of $350 from a lady in Seattle. As soon as I saw the name I knew she was a Kaikohe girl. She wrote in that she saw the article, how the hang I don't know, and she just wanted to help."
The campaign kicked off in November after the Northern Advocate was approached by Solomon Group, a Māori private training establishment which has been working with the Whare to the Whenua crew.
Solomon Group wanted to raise awareness of some the region's hidden homeless who are living in cars, tents, cow sheds and shacks, sometimes with no running water or power.
So far up to 20 Portacoms have been delivered to recipients, who locate them on their whenua, mostly around Kaikohe.
Recipients of the $25,000 cabins pay what they can afford each week, often with the goal of owning them.
All four groups involved in the campaign have been inundated with offers of donations.
Several truckloads of household items, including 22 beds, 11 couches, 13 sets of drawers, 10 armchairs, 10 dining chairs, and a number of fridges, TVs, lamps, toasters, heaters, coffee tables, bedside tables and shelving units, have been picked up from Northlanders' homes over the last couple of weeks.
They've been stored at the Northern Advocate office in Whangārei and were collected by a slightly awed Zielinski and her team earlier this week.
The Hits client and content solutions manager Dillon Johnstone said the items would help turn the cabins into homes.
"There was also some art, paintings and mirrors and things to make the Portacoms a little more homely, which was really cool," he said.
"There was quite a wide variety of things, all stuff they can use thanks to the overwhelming support from Northlanders."
Solomon Group also received many items, including 10 beds, five lounge and dining suites, two couches, two bedside tables, three sets of drawers, an outdoor furniture set, a sofa bed and a dryer.
Zielinski said the trust had also received furniture, and several donations of up to $1000 each.
One couple has requested their donation of $1000 be split between Eric Monk and Rachel Tana, who have both received Portacoms to place on their whenua in the last few months.
Monk, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, had been in and out of prison since he was 17, and Tana had been couch-surfing at family member's houses for two years after she lost her main source of income and couldn't afford the latest rent hike.
On Zielinski's suggestion, the cash will be turned into food vouchers for the pair, who can redeem them at their local supermarket.
Zielinski said the other monetary donations would be used to tidy up and furnish a commercial building the trust has leased in Kaikohe.
The trust plans to turn the building into seven whānau orientated apartments for "anyone that needs a long-term or short-term housing option".
They will be available from January, she said.
"The need was there so we decided to lease it and will look at purchasing it later.
"Already we've got people bailed to the address with nowhere else to go.
"We've been overwhelmed with responses and are so grateful. It's really making a difference to the people that really need it."
Thank you Northland
From the moment I heard what the Whakamanamai Whānau Trust was trying to achieve through its Whare to the Whenua scheme I knew we needed to help.
To live in a region as stunning as Northland and to know not everyone has somewhere to call home, while not surprising, is confronting once you accept that reality.
Reporter Jenny Ling's stories with the people at the very heart of this project were what bought it home for me; tales of individuals such as Eric Monk and Rachel Tana, who really just need a helping hand in the right direction.
One of the discussions I have had recently is how easy it is to find yourself in a situation that you would never imagine, such as suddenly becoming homeless. I thought Katie Roswell from Australia, who donated a bedding set, summed it up perfectly:
"For some people, it just takes one bad month and you could be sleeping on your friends' couch and that's homelessness - it's not just sleeping under a bridge."
The response to our campaign has been nothing short of phenomenal. As our story says we received several truckloads of household items from around Northland, including 22 beds, 11 couches, 13 sets of drawers, 10 armchairs, 10 dining chairs.
Thank you, Northland, you can be very proud of what you have done in helping with this campaign, I know I am.
As trust director Rhonda Zielinski said, we have "made a tangible difference to people's lives".
What a great way to end the year.
May you all have a safe, peaceful, and happy Christmas.
Rachel Ward, Editor