From Freeman Roofing with some of the $50 Prezzy cards are from back left; Gary Walton, Dallas Spence and Tony Broughton. From front left is Anita Weeks, Tracey Barron and Michala Keene. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Pressie cards to help those affected by fires

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A Nelson roofing company has given a boost to both individuals and businesses affected by the Tasman fires by posting out $2500 worth of Visa Prezzy cards to the community.

Freeman Roofing knew they wanted to do something to help as soon as they saw how well the community came together in the region’s time of need, but sales marketing and operations manager Dallas Spence says it took some time to decide exactly what that would be.

“With all the fires out in Wakefield there seemed to be a lot of assistance, it was awesome to see the community rally around, so we thought it might be better to wait till we can see an actual opportunity that might be really important and fit really nicely.”

Early last week Dallas placed a post on a local Facebook page asking members to nominate a friend or family member who had been affected by the fires.

Using these nominations, the company posted out fifty $50 Visa ‘Prezzy’ cards hoping it would be a “nice little gesture” to those on the receiving end, while giving a boost to local businesses.

Dallas says the inspiration came to them from an article about how Wakefield businesses had been struggling in the wake of the fires.

“We thought, let’s do something where we can inject a bit of positive goodwill by creating a means for people to acknowledge friends and family in a public forum.”

Each Prezzy card was accompanied by a letter from Freeman Group’s CEO Andy Stevens which encouraged the giftees to spend their card at a local business that had been similarly impacted by the fires.

“I hope you find something nice for yourself and/or a deserved other,” the letter read.

Dallas says to be able to do something a month down the track is about reminding people how everyone came together as a community and that people are still hurting.

“Often in a crisis or horrible situation, someone passing away etc, everyone seems to get a lot of assistance at the time, but it’s a month later when someone shows up with some flowers or a card or gives you a phone call that really makes a big difference.

“Business owners have been impacted with their incomes and that’s their livelihood, everyone’s gone back to their lives, or trying to piece together their lives and that’s when you need to step in again.”

Dallas says the unintended result of putting the post on a public Facebook page is that he has heard so many amazing stories of what people have gone through.

“All I asked for was a friend or family member who had been impacted and their postal address, but what I’ve ended up getting is nominated stories about the impact on families and maybe their animals, or how they’ve been evacuated a couple of times.

“Actually, just reading these people’s stories and what they’ve had to endure over the past month and a half is quite humbling.”