Christmas charity appeal down by nearly 10%
Kiwis urged to help make New Zealand a happier place this Christmas
Despite increased need, donations to New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal are nearly ten percent down compared to the same time last year.
At its midway point, on 10th December, 7,610 gifts had been donated to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, compared to 8,415 by the same date in 2009, a shortfall of 9.57 percent.
The Appeal, which runs until Christmas Eve, is targeting 30,000 gifts which will be distributed by The Salvation Army to families in need.
Thus far, Palmerston North’s Kmart store holds the lead for gifts donated, with a total of 1,275. However, this figure represents a 33.77 percent decrease as compared to the same point last year, by which time 1,925 gifts had been collected.
In second place is Auckland’s Botany with 1,053 gifts placed beneath the Wishing Tree, an increase of 87.03 percent compared to last year’s figure of 563.
Other notable exceptions to the downwards trend include Whakatane with a massive 189.09 percent increase over last year’s figure and Papatoetoe, with an increase of 172.11 percent. The pattern elsewhere in New Zealand is more mixed:
Store name To 10 Dec 10 To 10 Dec 09 % change
Albany 201 518 -61.20%
Henderson 455 679 -32.99%
Porirua (Wellington) 491 1210 -59.42%
St Lukes 437 262 66.79%
Papatoetoe 400 147 172.11%
Hastings 533 294 81.29%
Palmerston North 1,275 1925 -33.77%
Bayfair (Mt Manganui) 627 405 54.81%
Hamilton 457 428 6.78%
Riccarton (Christchurch) 563 474 18.78%
Shirley (Christchurch) 506 537 -5.77%
Dunedin 384 621 -38.16%
Botany 1,053 563 87.03%
Manukau 69 297 -76.77%
Whakatane 159 55 189.09%
Total 7,610 8415 -9.57%
“It’s great to see so many generous Kiwis donating gifts to the Wishing Tree Appeal and bringing some real Christmas cheer to families in need,” says the Salvation Army’s Territorial Public Relations Secretary, Major Robert Ross.
“Even so, we’re concerned that the response to this year’s Appeal is lagging behind last year’s, despite the greater numbers seeking our help.
“Many families who were coping last year are now dealing with redundancies or cuts to working hours and will be struggling to provide food and shelter for their families, let alone gifts for their children.
“With Christmas drawing closer and closer, please help us to bring a touch of joy and festive spirit into the lives of families who are really up against things. Your gift, be it large or small, can bring a smile to a child’s face and help lighten the gloom for people facing hardship,” he says.
Now in its sixteenth year, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has helped more than 228,000 New Zealanders and, last year alone, distributed 26,593 gifts.
To contribute, all you need do 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 be purchased from Kmart.
Alternatively, you can make a cash contribution to the Appeal at any Kmart store register. One hundred percent of your contribution will be converted into a Kmart gift card, for distribution by The Salvation Army.
“Kiwis have never let our Wishing Tree Appeal down before and, despite the halfway shortfall, we’re hoping that they won’t let us down this year, either,” says Kmart’s NZ Manager, Ms Sue Smith.
“But, please, don’t leave it to everyone else to make a difference – please go to your local Kmart store and place a gift beneath the Wishing Tree. You’ll be helping to make New Zealand a happier place this Christmas,” she says.