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Give to charity instead of Secret Santa

For Immediate Release

Friday, 8 December 2006

Give to charity instead of Secret Santa

The Salvation Army and Barnardos are urging companies to ditch “Secret Santa” gifts as part of their Christmas festivities and instead encourage staff to give a gift to charity.

Office parties are in full-swing, but The Salvation Army’s South Auckland Director of Community and Family Services, Gerry Walker, is asking companies to consider giving gifts to families in need via the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal instead of buying their colleagues presents.

“There are families around the country who can’t afford to buy presents at Christmas time, so we are encouraging companies to give a gift that will help brighten Christmas for these children,” he says.

The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal, last year collecting a record 22,859 gifts for families in need. Over the past 11 years the appeal has helped more than 126,000 New Zealanders. The presents are distributed within the communities they are donated by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal.

Mr Walker says staff are currently preparing to distribute gifts to struggling families.

“Christmas is traditionally a time for giving. However, for some families and children Christmas is a stark reminder of the hard times they are facing.

“The gifts distributed via this Appeal are really appreciated by those who receive them, as are the caring sentiments behind the gifts,” he says.

Kmart New Zealand regional manager Chris Brownlee says the last few weeks before Christmas was when more people were out shopping and when the most donations were made to the Kmart Wishing Tree appeal.

“We are hoping to get more gifts than ever this year, as The Salvation Army and Barnardos are telling us that the need is greater this year,” Mr Brownlee says.

To participate in the Kmart 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. 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.

The Wishing Tree Appeal runs until December 22.


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