A little kindness for Christmas

by Kent Caddick

Rakaia couple Natasha and Russell Oliver are calling for help to provide a little kindness to those in need over Christmas.

The couple, who are behind the Random Acts of Kindness NZ website, which they started last year, are seeking to provide deserving families with Kindness Hampers full of goodies to help them celebrate Christmas.

“The idea behind the hampers was to give enough food and Christmas decorations to people who would otherwise have no food to eat at all on Christmas day,” Natasha said.

“Around July last year we received a post on our Random Acts of Kindness Facebook page from a couple in Christchurch who had lost a child and wanted to give a hamper of food to a family in need at Christmas time. “There were over 100 comments on it looking to support them and other quite heart wrenching posts from people in need as well.

“So I got in touch with the lady who put up the post and said we would like to help them and maybe to give hampers to others as well.”

While she declined, saying they wanted just to give one hamper, it started the Olivers thinking that they must be able to help others.

“I knew we couldn’t help everybody but was sure we could help more than one,” Natasha said.

The couple contacted a number of local businesses to help put together the Christmas Kindness Hampers.

Natasha said the idea was that in the hamper they would provide a roast chicken for Christmas day, vegetables for the roast, Christmas tree and decorations, and presents for the kids.

“Everything they needed for that one day so at least no matter what was going on in their lives they could at least celebrate that day with a full tummy.”

The Olivers were able to collect $5,000 worth of products from The Warehouse, chickens from Brink’s Chickens and fresh vegetables from Prebbleton’s Healthy Harvest.

“We also had Christmas presents donated to them from the local community, and canned goods from local businesses and pre-schools.”

The couple found they had enough goods to put together 21 hampers.

Natasha said they did everything on their own and collected all the goods from Rolleston to Rakaia and brought them home. “We had them in the garage and lounge and then sat down and wrapped all the presents, divvied up all the hampers and then spent 16 hours over two days hand delivering them to people in need from Rolleston to Tai Tapu and Christchurch.”

Natasha said the people who received the hampers were nominated by the people who had been generous enough to help out.

This year the Olivers will be doing things slightly differently.

“Last time it was very time consuming and draining for both of us so this year we will be asking the donors to give the hampers to someone they know who needs it themselves which will help to cut back the time we have to be involved in collecting the goods and then delivering all the hampers.”

The Olivers have just started getting the message out about this year’s Christmas Kindness Hamper drive and anyone who wants to donate, nominate someone in need, sponsor or begin collecting for a Christmas Kindness Hamper can email Natasha at gifts@RandomActsOfKindness.co.nz or go to the website at randomactsofkindness.co.nz.

People can also contact them through the Random Acts of Kindness NZ Facebook page or call Natasha on 027 446 8664.