A local kindergarten has given back to the community this month, in the hope of helping those who have struggled through an undoubtedly tough year.
Nichola Uhlenberg, a member of the Stratford Community Childcare Centre fundraising committee, says while their own fundraising efforts had been hit by Covid-19 in the early part of this year they were fortunate with the support they had in the second half.
"The first half of the year saw many fundraising initiatives come to a sudden halt with the uncertainty of Covid-19. We were very lucky that the second half of the year picked up thanks to the hard work of our daycare families."
Normally the fundraising committee approach local businesses in the lead up to Christmas to ask for donations for their annual Christmas basket raffles, she says.
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"This year despite the decline on the fundraising front it didn't feel right to ask, as many may have also been facing financial challenges of their own."
Instead, she says, the committee decided to turn things around.
"We decided that it was a year to be proactive by giving back to our wonderful community and to help those in need by way of gifts, groceries and luxury items which were gathered by the loving, caring families and staff within the centre."
This act of kindness reflects the centre's philosophy, says Nichola.
"Our community believes that love (aroha), respect (manaakitanga), family and community (whanaungatanga) are fundamental values of early childhood education."