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TV Presenter kicks off national Xmas gift appeal

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Kay Gregory officially launched the Wishing Tree Appeal at Kmart’s St Lukes store in Auckland with the help of (left to right) Lilly Kelly, Joshua Sirichek and Pelesita Vaea.

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Kay Gregory officially launched the Wishing Tree Appeal at Kmart's St Lukes store in Auckland.


Tuesday 15 November 2005

TV Presenter kicks off national Christmas gift appeal

Television personality Kay Gregory today officially launched the 2005 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal – New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal which assists families in need.

Last year the Wishing Tree Appeal collected a record 21,500 gifts for families in need and over the past 10 years, the appeal has helped more than 104,000 New Zealanders.

Ms Gregory, co-presenter of TVNZ’s Breakfast show, says that if it wasn’t for the appeal thousands of New Zealanders would go without presents on Christmas day.

“Christmas is the one day of the year that everyone should be able to forget their worries, but unfortunately there are many, many people in our community who can’t do that. Instead Christmas can be a reminder of what they haven’t got.

“Small contributions to the appeal can make a big difference to a child, a teenager or a struggling mum or dad on Christmas day,” she says.

Gifts for the appeal can be donated at Wishing Trees, located at any Kmart store around New Zealand. The gifts are then distributed by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal.

The Salvation Army’s South Auckland Director of Community and Family Services, Gerry Walker, says Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for many New Zealand families.

“There is always strong demand for our services at Christmas time. Many New Zealand families have lived from hand to mouth all year, so there just isn’t any money to buy something extra at Christmas. It isn’t an option, and yet there is huge pressure to make the day special,” Mr Walker says.

Feedback from families to The Salvation Army has shown that having something special to give their loved ones at Christmas can make a real difference.

“Not getting a present may not seem like a big deal. But our experience is that the Wishing Tree Appeal makes a huge difference to people’s lives and helps make their Christmas a bit brighter,” Mr Walker says.

Likewise, Barnardos knows first hand of the joy that a gift can bring to a child who might otherwise have received none.

“It’s shocking to think that in New Zealand there are children, and families, who won’t have a single present to open on Christmas morning, but it is the sad reality for some children,” says Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge.

“There are families who won’t have a Christmas tree surrounded with gifts, and they won’t be having the Christmas banquet that we take as a given in our society. It certainly brings joy to our staff who have the pleasure of delivering the donated gifts, which will mean there is at least one gift for a child to find on Christmas morning,” he says.

To participate in the Appeal, simply place a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) underneath the Wishing Tree at any one of Kmart’s 13 stores across New Zealand. Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart – all gifts will be gratefully received and will go towards helping brighten someone’s Christmas.

For the first time, contributions towards gift vouchers can also made at any Kmart store. Gift vouchers will be provided to families in need – allowing them to choose their own Christmas presents.

The Wishing Tree Appeal runs from November 15 until Christmas Eve.


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