VANCOUVER -- A Surrey family who set their sights on helping others in need this holiday season is thanking the hundreds of others who donated to their cause.

“We had no idea the outpouring of support from over 140 donors would lead us to help 25 families,” said Joanna Zakowski.

Earlier this month, she and her husband posted a Craigslist ad titled: “Is your family struggling this Christmas?”

“My husband and I have decided to help a family instead of purchasing any gifts for each other this Christmas. We are looking to bless a couple of families this year,” the ad says.

Zakowski explained that initially she had set her sights on helping one or two families, but only days after the post, more than two dozen people had reached out for help.

“It's been an especially hard year for everybody, especially for those struggling," she said.

In an initial interview with CTV News Vancouver on Dec. 2, Zakowski said she had started an online fundraiser to try and help everyone who wrote to her.

“It's been a bit of a whirlwind after the story aired on CTV, the GoFundMe account started doing really well," she said on Sunday.

Along with the many who contributed more than $10,000 in online donations, Zakowski is thanking Once Upon A Child for donating clothing and toys, Newton Superstore for their points donation and Baaad Anna's Yarn Store for knitted donations.

“We thought it was a great idea for someone to provide gifts and some Christmas cheer for people who would otherwise not be able to have it," said Rick Puri, of City Fire Prevention Services, another company that contributed to the fundraiser.

Puri said the company’s employees decided to contribute funds that had been set aside for a cancelled company Christmas party, as well as other donations, towards Zakowski’s effort.