Support floods in for Taranaki fire victims
A young mother dealing with the aftermath of a devastating fire, which claimed her family's possessions, has been buoyed by the kindness of strangers.
Mother-of-two Silvia Lewis lost everything after her New Plymouth house caught fire on Tuesday. The blaze destroyed one half of her Clawton St house and caused extensive heat and smoke damage to the other.
Since then, the kindness and generosity of people had been overwhelming, Lewis said.
"I'm so blown away. I had nothing the other day and now so many people have like wanted to give us stuff."
Lewis was not prepared for the sudden outpouring of kind gestures and donations from perfect strangers in Taranaki and further afield.
"I didn't expect anything like this, I'm just so thankful cos I didn't know what to do."
Since the fire, Lewis had gone back to work and was juggling this with keeping her daughter Ciana, 8, and toddler Maximus-Blaze, happy over the school holidays.
"Give them some normality in the holidays not just, you know we don't have nothing kind of a day."
Lewis and her children are currently staying with family and she was grateful for the support from her cousin and close friend Teresa Julian. Julian was helping Lewis manage all the offers of support she had received since Tuesday's fire.
"My phone was going crazy, I'm trying to say thank you individually to everyone, I want to but I've kinda had to hand some of that over Teresa."
Julian said she had no idea she would have to manage such a massive response from people wanting to help but was happy because this was her way of supporting her "sister."
"The love I have been feeling from all these people has almost bought me to tears quite a few times," she said.
On Thursday morning, within the space of a few hours, numerous phone calls and on-line offers were fielded. A person from Waitara had dropped off clothes for Lewis' children and another offered to drop off baking to the family.
People from all walks of life have donated toys, clothes, household items and more, Julian said.
While Julian would never wish Lewis' ordeal on anyone, she said, "For someone who is fiercely independent like Silv, she has always done it for herself and this experience may show her she doesn't have to do this on her own and it's okay to receive help sometimes."
"I know that I have been humbled by this,"Julian added.