Emma Helleur, day announcer on The Hits Taranaki, says when she read a news article saying one out of every five New Zealand families couldn't afford Christmas, "it broke my heart".

Emma wasn't alone, the rest of the NZME Taranaki team were also horrified by the statistic and together they decided to do something about it.

Emma says they contacted their local clients asking for help in putting together an initiative they call Santa Surprise.

"We were thrilled with the quick response from so many clients. Q Transport, Glasgow Scaffolding & Rigging, Energy City Recyclers and WorleyParsons all offered help, as did Countdown and Toyworld New Plymouth, enabling us to help four families in the Taranaki region."

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Santa Surprise asks for people to tell The Hits team about a struggling Taranaki family, by going online and visiting The Hits Taranaki website.

"It could be a friend, a family member, a neighbour or even your own family. Maybe someone has lost their job, a family member is going through an illness or bereavement or a change in circumstances has meant Christmas will be hard this year. If you know of a family who won't be visited by Santa this year for any reason, please let us know."

Four families will be selected and surprised with all the makings of a merry Christmas, when The Hits team visit with presents and a Christmas feast.

A different family will be surprised each day between December 17 and 20.

To nominate a family, visit www.thehits.co.nz/taranaki. Tune in to Emma on The Hits Taranaki between 9am and 3pm Monday to Friday on 90FM
The Hits and the Stratford Press are both part of NZME