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Record No. of Presents Donated to Christmas Appeal

Media Release

23rd December 2005


Record Number of Presents Donated to Christmas Appeal

Thanks to the generosity of people across the country, thousands of families in need will have a brighter Christmas Day this year.

A record number, 22,859, of 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 11th 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.

Kmart general manager Craig McKeown says New Zealanders have been extremely generous this year. He says the final tally exceeded the goal of collecting 22,000 presents, with many people donating more than one present for mums, dads, grandparents and children in need.

Kmart Manukau in Auckland collected the most presents, with 3,255 in total, followed by Kmart Botany in Auckland with local people donating 2,365 gifts.

"The fantastic thing about this appeal is that all the presents donated at one of our stores are distributed locally. That means people can help families who are in need in their community to share in the tradition of opening a special present on Christmas Day," Mr McKeown says.

Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says the donations make a real difference to struggling families.

"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 the record-number of presents will help to meet the ever-increasing demand for assistance by families in need.

"Presents just can't be a priority for struggling families, and that is particularly hard on children who know that Santa gives presents to children 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:

Manukau, Auckland 3255
Botany, Auckland 2365
Palmerston North 2270
Hamilton 2102
Shirley, Christchurch 2013
Porirua, Wellington 1794
Henderson, Auckland 1603
St Lukes, Auckland 1573
Riccarton, Christchurch 1392
Bayfai, Tauranga 1274
Papatoetoe, Auckland 1216
Dunedin 1148
Hastings 854


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