A Stratford family has received a special gift from a local charitable trust.
For the past 11 years the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust have run Christmas Break-Ins. A team of volunteers go into the house and clean the families property, stock their fridge and freezer with Christmas goodies, and give the family a variety of Christmas gifts.
On December 18, the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust gave the Te Kawa family the special gift.
Trustee Terry Long says this is the first time the Christmas Break-In has happened in Stratford.
"The family was nominated by Stratford Primary School. They are a very deserving family."
Terry says he is thankful for the support of the volunteers.
"We had Team HOPE, the International Volunteer HQ, and local contractors on board. The Rapid Relief Team provided food and water for the volunteers."
The team had 90 minutes to clean the inside and outside of the property.
"We had told the family my wife Tanya and I were coming in to mow the lawns and there might be some contractors there as well. We cleaned up the yard, mowed the lawns, cleaned inside, set up Christmas decorations, put presents under the tree, and stocked the pantry and new fridge with food. It's all the little things that matter most. Now the family won't have to worry about cleaning the property or buying food and other things for Christmas."
Tony says the Break-Ins receive a lot of support.
"People donate throughout the year and are always willing to get on board."
He says Christmas is an important time of the year.
"It's all about bringing families together and what better way to do that than do something for someone you don't know. It feels good, it's the right thing to do. The idea is local people helping local families and spending locally."
Jono Erwood of Team HOPE says the team were "excited" to get on board.
"We have a good working relationship with the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust and we're a big supporter of what they do."
The Mellowpuff Charitable Trust purchased Christmas presents and a brand new fridge for the family. Team HOPE purchased the food from New World Stratford. Local businesses also donated items.
Team HOPE committee member Donna Millar says it is satisfying to help locally.
"It's great to support both the family and a local business."
Melissa Te Kawa says when she walked in and saw what had been done she was "overwhelmed".
"It is such an amazing blessing. We're so thankful for what they have done."
The Mellowpuff Charitable Trust was set up in May 2006 in memory of Melissa Long who passed away after a five-year battle with cancer.
During the time Melissa was sick, the family received a wide variety of help from family members, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and schools in the Spotswood community.
Melissa's dying wish to her father Terry was to repay the support by using the funds in her bank account to assist other Taranaki children who were going through similar adversity.
It was decided among loved ones to act on Melissa's wish and the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust was formed.