Babies born too premature or too vulnerable to spend Christmas at home will be treated to an extra special festive season thanks to a generous gift from Tauranga Freemasons.
The Tauranga Freemason Society gifted the staff of Tauranga Hospital's Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) a $1000 shopping spree for baby presents at The Warehouse Fraser Cove yesterday.
The Warehouse also offered 40 per cent off all items.
SCBU clinical nurse coordinator Marian Wordsworth said the experience was humbling.
"It's very significant for mums who have to be in hospital at Christmas with us. It's a real important time, they are only there because they have to be. So we try to make the babies very first Christmas, the best one."
Ms Wordsworth said staff nurse Yvonne Baker always made a little stocking filled with small trinkets for each baby, out of her own generosity. But to receive the shopping spree from the Freemasons was "absolutely amazing".
"For us it's great. We really haven't had anyone who has given us money to do this before," Ms Wordsworth said.
"To have any baby in hospital... a mum who has a full-term baby generally knows after a few days they can go home but prems are there the whole term. We try to brighten things up with Christmas."
Mrs Baker said she loved helping to make each baby's first Christmas special, and took pleasure in arranging individual stockings for them.
"The best thing is seeing the mothers' faces. It's just wonderful," she said.
Mike Cooke, of the Tauranga Freemasons Society, said the organisation regularly donated money to worthwhile causes .
Mr Cooke said a few years ago their Grand Master's wife created a national knitting circle which created about 6000 pieces of clothing, gifted to babies in hospital. The knitting had continued, and Mr Cooke said it made sense to help the babies and their families enjoy Christmas a little bit more.