9 Jan | 2014
With living costs rising, thousands of families throughout New Zealand struggled to give presents this Christmas.
Now in its 19th year, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeai again collected gifts for The Salvation Army to include in Christmas hampers for Kiwis who otherwise may have missed out.
Displaying the true spirit of Kiwi generosity, 40,618 gifts were donated to the 2013 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal to help fill stockings on Christmas Day.
The Appeal aimed to collect 40,000 gifts for families in need. Over 12,000 more gifts were collected than in 2012 - a 42 per cent increase.
Palmerston North had the most gifts donated with a total of 6,649 followed by Riccarton in Christchurch (3,705) and Porirua (3,482).
Kmart New Zealand General Manager, Sue Smith, says that the Wishing Tree Appeal shows the large number of people in our society who care.
'We are truly humbled by the generosity of the New Zealand public and proud to facilitate this joy of giving through the Appeal. It has been inspiring to hear the heart-warming stories - from young ones who are learning the true meaning of Christmas and wanting to help…to adults and the elderly who have made a family tradition of giving year in, year out,' Sue says.
Major Pam Waugh, Salvation Army Secretary for Social Services, says gifts donated to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal mean so much to thousands of Kiwis who do it tough in this busy period.
'Once again Kiwis have generously supported people they don’t know and may never meet. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who donated this year,' she says.
During the 19 years of the Appeal, more than 350,000 gifts have been donated and distributed to those in need.
The Appeal also included cash donations raised through in‐store coin collections and online.
The Salvation Army very much appreciates the support of Kmart over the last 19 years and those who joined in the spirit of giving.