VIDEO: Vineland Family Surprised with Christmas Tree and More


VINELAND - After entering a raffle with the Cumberland County SPCA, Diane Starn, one of Vineland’s animal control officers, didn’t expect to win a Christmas tree.
Instead of putting it on display in her own home, however, she decided to pay it forward.
“Christmas is about giving, it’s not about taking," said Starn, "It’s about putting smiles on people’s faces.
"And when I walked up here with the tree and seeing the kids, they stole my heart the way they were smiling.”
After winning the tree, Starn said she contacted one of the community's police officers — Officer Soto — to find out if she knew of any families that needed a tree.
"And she contacted me back and said, 'yes,' she had a family.”
Vineland resident Luz Gonzalez was not expecting the holiday gift.
“She surprised us one morning and came in and dropped off the Christmas tree for me and my family and the kids, and they were all excited,” said Gonzalez.
“It’s massive; it’s a big tree," said Sgt. Daniel Fay of the Vineland Police Department. "I didn’t expect such a big tree."
The group didn’t stop there.
They purchased lights and trimmings for the tree as well. They also brought fruits and vegetables to the Gonzalez home to help with their Christmas dinner preparations.
“They saw the ornaments and everything, and they just — all they wanted to do [was] just decorate the Christmas tree,” said Gonzalez of her children.
The children were also surprised with presents to fill underneath their new Christmas tree, for them to open on Christmas Day.
“My kids are excited and happy that they have a Christmas tree and are ready for Christmas,” said Gonzalez.
“It looks really good," said Sgt. Fay. "I mean, it came together really nice, and it’s the type of thing like that that makes Christmas what it is. It’s just a happy time.”
“You know, [this] was just making sure that they had a Christmas that they wouldn’t forget," said Starn. "And I think I’ve accomplished that.”

SNJ Today is a Southern New Jersey news and information source based in Millville, New Jersey, that is dedicated to providing current stories related specifically to South Jersey.