Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal
For release: 26 November 2009-11-26
Welfare Charities Expect Significant Increase In Need This Christmas
The Salvation Army and Barnardos have seen a significant increase in demand for their services this year as the impact of the recession is felt and anticipate this demand increasing further in the lead up to Christmas.
"This increased need means New Zealand's largest Christmas gift appeal - the Kmart Wishing Tree is even more crucial this year than in previous years.
"We're hoping New Zealanders will give generously so everyone can experience the joy of Christmas," said The Salvation Army Public Relations Secretary, Major Robert Ross.
"Our latest quarterly figures show a continuing deterioration in the living standards of low income and heavily indebted families. An example of this is a 40% increase in the number of families receiving food parcels compared to the same time last year.
"Though the 40% increase is a grim statistic, it doesn't tell the full story - until recently The Salvation Army's client's were mainly lower income families, however the recession has resulted in families who until recently had been financially independent and relatively comfortable walking through our door on a daily basis.
"Many of these families carry heavy debt burdens and redundancy or reduced overtime means they are coming to The Salvation Army with complex problems such as mortgagee sales or bankruptcy," said Major Ross.
Barnardos Chief Executive, Murray Edridge said they were also seeing a significant increase in demand from the families they support.
"The current economic climate has had a very big impact on many of the children and families we work with. 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," said Mr Edridge.
The increased need has motivated actress and television personality Greer Robson to support the 2009 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal and encourage Kiwis to donate a gift.
"I think the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a wonderful initiative which is particularly important this year, given the difficult economic climate we're experiencing.
"As a mother of two young daughters I know how important Christmas is to children. The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is important as it provides a gift for children who would otherwise miss out on Christmas day.
"I believe one of the most fulfilling things you can do as a person is to give. I can't think of a better way of demonstrating true Christmas spirit than by supporting the Wishing Tree Appeal and placing a gift beneath the tree at your local Kmart store," Ms Robson said. 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 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.