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Presents from strangers to bring Christmas cheer


Presents from strangers to bring Christmas cheer

In keeping with the spirit of Christmas, thousands of New Zealanders will be opening presents from complete strangers this year - making their day just a little brighter.

21,588 presents have been donated to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, a campaign to collect presents for families who can't afford to buy gifts for Christmas. Now in its 12th year, the presents raised in the appeal are distributed by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal, within the communities where they are donated.

Last minute shoppers can leave gift donations at any of the 14 Kmart stores throughout New Zealand until Sunday afternoon.

Kmart regional manager Chris Brownlee says that thanks to the generosity of New Zealanders, thousands of people will share in the Christmas tradition of opening a special present on Christmas day.

Kmart in Hamilton collected the most presents, with 3,830 in total, followed by Palmerston North with local people donating 2,753 gifts.

"People have really got behind the Christmas tradition of giving by donating so many presents. The great thing about this appeal is that presents are distributed in the community where they are donated, so people are helping out others in their local area," Mr Brownlee says.

Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says having presents to open on Christmas day can make a huge difference to a struggling family.

"For many families Christmas is just another day - they can't afford presents, nice food or holidays.

"Most people take it for granted that they'll open presents on Christmas Day, but for many New Zealanders that wouldn't happen without the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal. We are really grateful to Kmart for once again providing this opportunity," he says.

Gerry Walker from The Salvation Army says donations to the appeal will help to meet the ever-increasing demand for assistance by families in need.

"It's a very sad feeling for many New Zealand parents to know they can't give their child - or other loved one - a special something on Christmas day.

"This appeal makes a huge difference, because it means lower socio-economic families can also take part in this time of giving. It's great to know that all the people that made donations are helping to brighten other people's Christmas - that's the real spirit of Christmas," he says.

Gifts donated to The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, by store:

Palmerston Nth
St Lukes
Supplier donations


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