Kindness in the face of tragedy
A family who lost everything in a devastating Rangiora house fire last week say they are amazed and humbled by the kindness of strangers.
Katrina and Shane Prest spent hours on a footpath in the rain last Thursday watching as fire fighters attempted to salvage the Housing New Zealand (HNZ) house – their home for the past 18 moths.
‘‘We literally had the shirts on our backs and that was it,’’ Katrina Prest said. ‘‘It has been a pretty stressful week.’’
The one positive of the week, according to the family, has been the generosity of the North Canterbury community.
‘‘It has been amazing – we just don’t know how to thank everyone,’’ Katrina Prest said.
Prest, who works at Countdown Rangiora, has had the week off on full pay, as has her husband Shane from his job at Farmers on Moorhouse Ave – and he’d only worked there one day.
‘‘Amazing. It’s all I can say, completely overwhelming and humbling,’’ Katrina said.
Prest’s colleagues did a whip around donating money out of their own pockets, and Countdown provided the family with grocery vouchers and a deli platter.
Countdown Rangiora East manager, Hamish O’Malley, said he’s worked in parts of Christchurch where he doesn’t believe the community would rally the way he has seen here.
‘‘The staff have been amazing, bringing items and money donations. I have really seen such a great team spirit from them all,’’ O’Malley said.
He said Countdown Rangiora East has been acting as a drop-off for the public wanting to donate items to the family. A donation of items from the public was given to the Prest’s on Saturday.
‘‘We are happy to continue as a drop off point for people and act as the go-between. We have a notebook at customer service where customers are listing larger items they have to donate such as a couch, beds and other furniture,’’ he said.
Givealittle pages have also been set up for the family, one by Shane’s brother and another by a colleague of Katrina’s.
The children’s school, Woodend primary School, as well as Rangiora High School have held mufti-days to benefit the family.
Katrina Prest said at the moment the family is just taking each day as it comes.
Shane and Katrina Prest with Countdown Rangiora Manager Hamish O’Malley.