This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on August 29, 2019
A pizza fundraiser for a family who lost almost everything when they were ripped off by a tiny-house builder raised almost $700.
Shanon and Liza Casson, along with children Shodan and Zoe, had their dream of downsizing to a tiny house destroyed when a man made off with their $40,000 payment.
Police confirmed the man had been arrested and was facing a range of dishonesty charges, but none of them relate to his alleged theft from the Cassons.
When Domino's Pizza Wanganui franchisees Neeraj Vishwakarma and Pallavi Jadhav heard what had happened to the family, they wanted to help.
They arranged a fundraiser called Raise Some Dough For Liza & Shanon in which they donated $1 from every pizza sold between 5pm and 9pm one evening to them.
Shanon Casson went to the store on Victoria Ave with his family for an hour on the night and said it was packed.
"Some very patient people waited 40 minutes for their pizzas," Casson said.
"The wait time was so massive that some people decided not to get pizza and donated to us instead.
"We went there for a photo, to meet the staff and to thank everybody in person. We've had lovely feedback from the public. The support they've given us has been tremendous."
Domino's provided the family with some free pizza as well - vegan and dairy free cheese were their go-to.
Casson said the response of the Whanganui community to the story he shared with the Whanganui Chronicle on August 13 had been overwhelming.
The family had received letters, cash and offers of free accommodation because they are boarding with family in Himatangi Beach and working in Whanganui every day.
Casson works at Whanganui Intermediate School and at the New Zealand Jiu Jitsu Academy on Taupo Quay.
As a symbol of gratitude, he has offered to train all Domino's staff in self defence at his academy.
"Self defence is important no matter who you are or what you do, but they're in a front-line job where they're dealing with the public first-hand," he said.
"They can obviously get themselves into some situations that they don't want to be in. It's great to be able to offer them a service that will be very valuable to them."
A Domino's spokesperson said the store sold close to 600 pizzas in the four-hour timeframe.
"The family were so grateful for all the money raised and it showed them that there are wonderful people out there," she said.
"Overall it was a fantastic experience for everyone. The team felt great raising money for a good cause and our customers got to support one of their own."