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Kiwis Show Their Giving Spirit

Media Release
December 1, 2005

Kiwis Show Their Giving Spirit

Donations to a nationwide Christmas gift appeal have increased by 25 percent on last year, which is good news for struggling families across the country.

The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a campaign to collect presents for families who can’t afford to buy Christmas gifts. The presents are distributed by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal to people within the communities where they are donated.

Kmart general manager Craig McKeown says that two weeks after the launch, 2,329 presents have been donated to Kmart, compared with 1841 at the same time last year.

“We usually get a rush of donations in the last couple of weeks before Christmas, but the indications so far are that we’ll be ahead of last year. Our aim is for 22,000 presents – so we’ve got a long way to go, but we are confident New Zealanders won’t forget those in need when they are out shopping for Christmas over the next few weeks,” he says.

Gerry Walker from The Salvation Army says the demand for assistance at Christmas time never diminishes, and this year the organisation will need to help more people than ever before.

“Unfortunately thousands of lower socio-economic families struggle all year, but the situation is compounded at Christmas time with the pressure and hype associated with the festive season.”

Mr Walker says he is proud to see people around the country digging deep into their pockets to help their fellow New Zealanders.

“Without generous contributions from the public through campaigns like the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, thousands of children and families would go without presents on Christmas morning. This appeal makes a huge difference to people’s lives and helps make their Christmas a little bit brighter,” says Mr Walker.

The Salvation Army is also urging New Zealand’s business community to think of those less fortunate this Christmas, by encouraging their employees and workmates to establish workplace gift initiatives to benefit the appeal.

This year’s appeal was launched by TVNZ Breakfast co-host Kay Gregory on 15 November. Over the past ten years the annual appeal has helped more than 104,000 New Zealanders by providing them with gifts to open on Christmas day.

To participate in the Wishing Tree Appeal, simply place a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) underneath the Wishing Tree at any one of Kmart’s 13 stores across New Zealand by 23 December. 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, cash contributions can also made at any Kmart store. All cash contributions are converted by Kmart into Kmart gift vouchers, and are distributed to people in need by The Salvation Army, allowing appeal recipients of the gift cards to choose their own Christmas gift.

Kmart stores in New Zealand:
Henderson, Auckland
Botany, Auckland
Papatoetoe, Auckland
Manukau, Auckland
St Lukes, Auckland
Hamilton
Tauranga
Palmerston North
Hastings
Porirua, Wellington
Riccarton, Christchurch
Shirley, Christchurch
Dunedin

ENDS

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