A Victorian small business owner has received a $15,000 surprise as part of a TODAY show segment, supported by The Lott, rewarding people for their Random Acts of Kindness. 

In 2017, mother of seven Tania Hovenden opened ‘Tan’s Tuckerbox’ in the small town of Swan Hill, north-west of Melbourne.

Since the business launched, Tania has put her heart and soul into giving back to her community by catering and delivering freshly cooked meals on a daily basis to school kids, the elderly, and those in need. 

The cafeteria is a community favourite for its delicious homemade meals, including everything from sausages and mash, to lemon meringue pies. 

As well as catering to the community each day, Tania also supports surrounding local businesses by stocking their non-perishable goods, such as salad dressings, pickled jars, jams and chutneys.

Like others, Tania has faced the many challenges the come with owning a small business during the COVID pandemic.

However, her support for her community has been unwavering, with Tania resorting to Facebook and Instagram so she could continue offering her meals during lockdowns.

She also ensured all her staff remained employed and used her business to provide employment opportunities for local people with disabilities.

We spoke to Tania after the segment.

“I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m still shaking!” she exclaimed.

“It was an amazing moment, and one I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.

“Even before the COVID pandemic, I delivered lunches to school kids and the elderly every day. The surrounding schools are especially doing it tough.

“I won’t let the kids miss out; I have to make sure they’re all fed. As a mother, I know if they’ve got a fully belly, they’re going to concentrate better.
“I just want to help them out. If you do good for others, you will change someone’s life.

“We’ve lost a lot of stock during the first months of COVID. I’ve been trying to make ends meet, I even sold my other cleaning business last year, which I recently asked the new owner if I could work for them.

“I’ve been doing 16-hour days at both businesses to try and keep the shop going. My husband has been driving a school bus as well. 

“I can’t thank you enough. It’s starting to all sink in now.

“I am just blown away.”

Keep your eyes out over the next few Fridays as more people are rewarded for their Random Acts of Kindness over the succeeding year.

Well done, Tania. What a heartfelt story.