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Christmas Appeal Seeks 15,000 Gifts For Kids

Photo Caption: Well-known celebrity and media personality, Charlotte Dawson, placed the first official present under the Wishing Tree at the Salvation Army, launching the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, New Zealand's largest Christmas gift appeal. The appeal aims to collect 15,000 gifts this year for children who would otherwise receive no presents from Santa.

Monday, November 11 2002 MEDIA RELEASE

Christmas Appeal Seeks 15,000 Gifts For Kids

The Salvation Army and Barnardos, recipient charities of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, desperately need 15,000 gifts for those who will otherwise receive nothing from Santa this Christmas.

Lt. Colonel Don Oliver of The Salvation Army, says while Christmas is a happy time for many New Zealanders, for some it can be the saddest time of the year.

"With more and more people living below the poverty line in New Zealand the need for donated gifts this year is greater than ever before.

"We are desperate for Christmas gifts and we're calling on people to donate early so our supply does not run short and we can continue to distribute gifts up until Christmas Eve.

"In our experience it is young children and adolescent boys aged 10 to 13 who often miss out so we would particularly like to request gifts for these groups.

"Please help The Salvation Army brighten up someone's life this Christmas", he says.

High profile television and media personality, Charlotte Dawson, has been appointed spokesperson for the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

Charlotte Dawson says she feels honoured to be involved, "Christmas is such a special day and everyone deserves to enjoy it", she says.

Lt. Oliver is delighted to have the support of such a well-known celebrity to encourage gift donation.

Since its inception in 1993, New Zealand's largest Christmas gift appeal, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has enabled more than 60,000 New Zealanders to share in the joy of Christmas.

The Appeal's theme is Every Gift Brings A Smile highlighting the difference every donated gift will make to an individual at Christmas.

To participate in the appeal simply place a wrapped gift under the Wishing Tree located at any Kmart store. Take a gift tag from the tree that identifies the appropriate gender and age of a suitable recipient and place it with your gift.

Gifts do not have to be purchased at Kmart - the stores simply act as co-ordination points, bringing together community resources and welfare groups to distribute gifts.

The appeal was established after a Kmart employee suggested Kmart use its network of stores to help charity groups at Christmas time.


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