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Santa and Candy encourage Kiwis to give generously


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Embargoed until Monday 4 December 2006


Santa and Candy encourage Kiwis to give generously


New Zealand’s dancer extraordinaire, Dancing with the Stars co-host, Candy Lane and Santa are encouraging New Zealanders to continue to give generously to a nationwide Christmas gift appeal, which already has 35 percent more presents than last year.

Candy and Santa Claus are supporting the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, 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 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal to people within the communities where they are donated.

Candy says the campaign was launched three weeks ago and already 4,546 presents have been donated, compared with 3,369 at the same time last year. In 2005, 19,490 presents were donated in the final three weeks of the appeal.

“I’m proud to see New Zealanders thinking about other people when they are out shopping. Our aim is for 23,000 presents - we have a long way to go, but are confident that in the Christmas rush over the next couple of weeks we’ll get plenty more donations,” she says.

Gerry Walker from The Salvation Army says December can be one of the most stressful months of the year for families who are struggling financially, and the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a great way to relieve some of that stress.

“At Christmas time there is so much pressure, which makes life even more of a struggle for the thousands of lower socio-economic families.

“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,” he says.

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.

Candy launched the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal on Monday 13 November this year. Over the past 11 years the annual appeal has helped more than 126,000 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 14 stores across New Zealand by Christmas Eve. Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart – all gifts will be gratefully received and will go towards helping brighten someone’s Christmas.

As an alternative to donating a gift, people can make a cash contribution at any Kmart store register. One hundred percent of cash contributions are converted by Kmart into Kmart gift vouchers, which are then distributed to people in need by welfare groups, allowing appeal recipients to choose their own Christmas gift.

Ends

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