ONE WEEK TO GO - Presents Urgently Needed for Christmas Appeal
Close to 10,000 presents have been donated to Kmart’s Wishing Tree Appeal and The Salvation Army and Barnardos say they hope the generosity continues over the next week, to help struggling families around the country cope with Christmas.
The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a campaign to collect presents for families who can’t afford to buy gifts for Christmas. The presents are distributed by The Salvation Army and Barnardos, the official charities of the Wishing Tree Appeal, within the communities where they are donated. By Friday last week 9,583 presents had been donated at 14 Kmart stores around New Zealand.
Kmart general manager Craig McKeown says last year over 11,000 presents were collected in the week before Christmas – and he hopes a similar number are collected again this year.
“With school children now on holiday and everyone thinking Christmas, retailers are entering their busiest shopping week of the year. We have our fingers crossed that this will equate to more donations to the appeal, because these presents are needed,” he says.
Mr McKeown says New Zealanders have been amazingly generous so far, but there is still a long way to go to achieve the 22,000 presents that Barnardos and The Salvation Army are hoping for.
“There are so many families in need all across New Zealand. We are aiming pretty high this year to make our target, but we know the need is there and we have to do what we can to help,” he says.
Barnardos Chief Executive Murray Edridge says his staff are already distributing gifts to struggling families.
“These presents are meeting a need in our communities. We regularly work with children and families who live in unhealthy and overcrowded accommodation, don’t have adequate winter clothing and footwear, don’t get to the doctor when they should and don’t see the dentist. Their schooling suffers and they miss out on many organised social activities.
“The Kmart Wishing Tree appeal is an opportunity to bring a little joy into these lives. It is a chance to tell these children and their families that society does really care,” he says.
Mr Edridge says giving presents to charity is a great note to end the year on, and he encourages organisations and individuals to donate to the appeal.
The Salvation Army’s Gerry Walker, says the demand for assistance at Christmas time never diminishes, and this year the organisation will need to help more people than ever before.
“If you’ve been living from hand to mouth all year, there just isn’t any money to buy something special at Christmas. It isn’t an option, and yet the pressure to provide is stronger than ever. The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal helps relieve that pressure for families, and gives them something happy to focus on during the festive season,” Mr Walker says.
Gifts donated to Kmart stores so far:
Shirley, Christchurch 1283
Palmerston North 1193
Porirua, Wellington 948
Riccarton, Christchurch 818
Papatoetoe, Auckland 816
Henderson, Auckland 750
St Lukes, Auckland 718
Bayfair, Tauranga 584
Botany, Auckland 565
Manukau, Auckland 475
To participate in the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, simply place a gift under the Wishing Tree at any Kmart store. Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart – all gifts will be gratefully received and will help brighten someone’s Christmas.
For the first time, cash contributions towards gift vouchers can be made at any Kmart store register. Gift vouchers will be provided to families in need – allowing them to choose their own Christmas presents. The Wishing Tree Appeal runs until Friday, 23 December.