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Symbol Of Hope For New Zealand Families

Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal Symbol Of Hope For New Zealand Families

Tough economic times make Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal more important than ever

Familiar Christmas Wishing Trees went up in Kmart stores across the country today as the 2010 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal was launched.

For the sixteenth year running, generous Kiwis can place a gift under the Kmart Wishing Tree, located in any of their stores nation wide.

Salvation Army Territorial Public Relations Secretary, Major Robert Ross says while most New Zealanders look forward to celebrating Christmas with family and friends, many others quietly dread the arrival of the festive season and never more so than this year.

"Christmas expectations place an immense emotional and financial strain on parents who are struggling to keep their families fed and clothed during the current economic downturn and who simply can't afford the luxury of presents for their children.

"The gift of a toy to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is actually a gift of kindness to a family in need and who may well be suffering severely. It's a great way of giving a bit of Christmas joy to those who most need it," he says.

Major Ross adds that the number of families seeking assistance from The Salvation Army has been at an all time high for the past twelve months, with more than 28,000 families seeking food alone from the organisation.

He also says that it's no longer only low income families seeking help from The Salvation Army. Many families, who were relatively comfortable until redundancies or cuts in working hours, have also been seeking assistance.

"This year's Appeal is almost certainly the most important we've held to date, given the continued tough economic times and the extent of need within our communities," says Kmart's NZ Manager, Ms Sue Smith.

"We're hoping for a record 30,000 gifts to be placed under the Kmart Wishing Tree between now and Christmas Eve for distribution to families who may otherwise go without by our charity partner, The Salvation Army," she adds. Over the past 15 years the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has helped more than 228,000 New Zealanders and, last year alone, distributed 26,593 gifts.

All you need to do to contribute to the Appeal is place a gift under a Wishing Tree in a Kmart store and then add a gift tag from the tree to identify the age and gender of a suitable recipient. The gift does not need to have been purchased from Kmart.

Alternatively, you can make a cash contribution to the Appeal at a sales point in any Kmart store or on-line at www.kmart.co.nz/wishingtree. One hundred percent of your contribution will be converted into a Kmart gift card, for distribution by The Salvation Army. The Appeal runs until Christmas Eve.


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