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It’s time to plant a Christmas smile!

12 November 2008

It’s time to plant a Christmas smile!

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Sarah Bradley officially launched the Wishing Tree Appeal at Kmart’s store in Porirua.


Sarah Bradley launches 2008 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal

New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal for needy families got underway today, with television presenter Sarah Bradley officially launching the 2008 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

Christmas Wishing Trees have now gone up in every Kmart store across the country and generous New Zealanders are being encouraged to place a gift beneath a tree for distribution by The Salvation Army and Barnardos to families in need.

“This is a hugely important appeal as it brings genuine Christmas cheer to many families and helps plant Christmas morning smiles on the faces of children,” said Ms Bradley, who is co-presenter of TVNZ’s Good Morning show.

Over the past 13 years the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has helped more than 173,000 New Zealanders and last year alone distributed 22,998 gifts.

“Christmas can be very stressful for people on tight budgets. I am lucky that I can provide a gift for my four year old daughter, but sadly the reality is that many Kiwi parents can’t,” she said.

“I can’t think of a better way of demonstrating true Christmas spirit than by getting behind the Wishing Tree Appeal and placing a gift beneath the tree at your local Kmart store,” Ms Bradley added.

Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a very effective way of preventing children in need from feeling excluded for the widespread mood of celebration.

“It’s hurtful and distressing for children to wake up on Christmas morning and not receive a present. Children hear that if they are good, they’ll get a present – then nothing arrives on Christmas morning. It’s not a positive experience for those children.

“We’re delighted to be one of the two charities regularly supported by the Wishing Tree Appeal. Distributing the presents is a truly enjoyable and rewarding job,” he said.

The Salvation Army’s Public Relations Secretary, Major Robert Ross, says for families in need, the pressure associated with Christmas can far outweigh any pleasure associated with the festive time of year.

“Many families just don’t have money to spend on luxuries of any kind, however in the weeks leading up to Christmas, there is pressure on them to spend what little they have and build up debt. This can be very stressful and can even provoke the break-up of families, with often terrible consequences for children.

“The Wishing Tree Appeal can help bring some genuine pleasure and even joy back into the lives of people who are up against all sorts of difficulties. That is surely one of the things that Christmas is meant to be about,” he said.

To participate in the appeal, simply place a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) underneath the Wishing Tree at any one of Kmart’s 15 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.

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 cards, which are then distributed to people in need by welfare groups, allowing appeal recipients to choose their own Christmas gift.

The Wishing Tree Appeal runs through to Christmas Eve.


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