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Eight Year Old's Artwork to Promote Gift Appeal

Media Release

Thur 12 Nov 2009

A heart-warming work of art by an eight year old from a tiny South Island town has been chosen to help promote New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal, which commences today.

Luke Paisley, from Weston near Oamaru, has been declared the national winner of Kmart’s inaugural art of giving competition, having already been named South Island winner in the 5-9 year age category.

In total, Luke has won $12,500 cash for Weston School, along with prizes for himself, with an artwork entitled “Sharing the Christmas happiness” and featuring the word “Koha” along with drawings of angels and children with Christmas gifts.

Luke’s creation will be used to help promote Kmart’s 2009 Wishing Tree Appeal, which commences today and will run until Christmas Eve. His artwork will appear on Wishing Tree signage in Kmart stores and on the Kmart website and catalogue.

Along with primary school students from around New Zealand, Luke took up the challenge to draw, paint a picture or make a collage to represent the spirit of giving. The Kmart art of giving competition offered a total prize pool of $25,000 for primary schools, with individual student prizes including Apple iPods and Nintendo DS Lites awarded across seven categories.

Weston School principal, Mrs Nicky Ryan said she was delighted that Luke had won the competition.

“Everyone at the school is absolutely thrilled for Luke. He wants to be an artist when he grows up, so it looks like he has made an early start. It will be wonderful to see his artwork being used to promote the Appeal,” she said.

Kmart NZ Manager, Ms Sue Smith said Wishing Trees have now gone up in every Kmart store across the country and New Zealanders are being encouraged to place a gift beneath a tree for distribution by The Salvation Army and Barnardos to families in need.

Ms Smith said she hoped Kiwis would support the Appeal again this year, particularly given the impact the recession has had on families during 2009.

“Both The Salvation Army and Barnardos are telling us that they have seen a significant increase in demand for their services this year and that they expect the demand for Christmas presents to increase as well,” she said.

Salvation Army Public Relations Secretary, Major Robert Ross said the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal was more crucial than ever this year, due to a huge increase in the number of families finding it difficult to make ends meet.

“We have seen an increase in the number of people seeking our support this year. The Salvation Army is assisting one person somewhere in New Zealand every five minutes.

“In previous years families from lower income households have needed assistance over the holiday period, but as a result of the recession we’re seeing many families walking through the door on a daily basis, who until recently were financially comfortable,” he said.

Barnardos Chief Executive, Murray Edridge said the Christmas season can be very stressful for families who are struggling in the current economic climate.

“Throughout the year we have recorded an increase in families identifying issues around family relationships, parenting, drug and alcohol abuse and financial hardship.

“For many families the festive season brings extra financial pressure. Families we have worked with have been through difficult times, and some could face a bleak Christmas without the assistance of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal.

“Christmas should be a cheerful and valuable time shared with friends and family. Unfortunately, many children often don’t have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas that way,” said Mr Edridge.

To participate in the Appeal, simply place a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) underneath the Wishing Tree at any one of Kmart’s 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 or place spare change in the coin collection boxes located in stores. One hundred percent of cash contributions are converted by Kmart into Kmart gift cards, 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 through to Christmas Eve.


© Scoop Media

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