On Monday 19 October 2020, Kmart will officially launch the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal with founding charity partner, The Salvation Army, earlier than ever before to support the increased demand of New Zealanders in need, following a challenging year.
Now in its 27th year, the Appeal is New Zealand’s largest and longest-running Christmas gift collection appeal. Delivering more than 500,000 gifts to date, the Appeal makes a significant difference to those in need at the time of the year when community spirit is most important. The Appeal focuses on collecting gifts and raising funds for daily necessities, with financial contributions also going towards providing locally responsive support services and emergency relief.
In 2020, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is expected to be needed more than any other year in its 27-year history, with the effects of the global pandemic being felt across the country and leading to the Appeal launching on its earliest date ever. National research conducted by YouGov (September-October 2020) has backed this decision, confirming that 38% of New Zealanders have been negatively financially impacted by COVID-19.
John Gualtieri, Kmart Director of Retail Australia and New Zealand, said, “This year, we are launching the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal early because we know many families will be bracing for a different kind of Christmas following the impacts of COVID-19.
“At Kmart, we have a responsibility to care for and support the community in which we operate. Working with our long-standing partner, The Salvation Army, we have an opportunity to make a difference thanks to the generosity of New Zealanders who contribute what they can. We are asking the community to give a small gift with a big heart, because a little thought can go a long way.”
Worryingly, the national research also showed that charities and support organisations are expected to receive reduced contributions this Christmas with 38% of New Zealanders, who themselves won’t be accessing support services this year, intending to contribute this year (compared to 42% last year).
In particular, only 15% of New Zealanders intend to gift toys or presents this Christmas compared to 17% of New Zealanders who did so last Christmas. This anticipated decrease is also the same for planned financial donations (15% this Christmas vs. 17% last Christmas) and clothing (12% this Christmas vs. 15% last Christmas).
The Appeal’s charity partner, The Salvation Army, is bracing for an influx of community members who will be looking for support due to the impact of Covid-19, many of whom haven’t required assistance before.
Jono Bell, Territorial Director Community Ministries for The Salvation Army, said, “As the proud founding partner of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, we are grateful to be working with Kmart once again to continue supporting our local communities and especially so in 2020. There’s no doubt this has been a very challenging year from a financial, wellbeing and social perspective for so many community members and we’ve noticed a significant increase of people requiring support for the first time. Many of our clients will be experiencing hardship for the first time due to Covid, and for others, Christmas continues to put an extra stress on already limited finances
The unprecedented need for support in 2020 has informed this year’s Appeal theme – Big Heart, Small Gift – with New Zealanders encouraged to give what they can as small gestures can collectively create an extraordinary impact. The research results indicate that Kiwis will support this sentiment, with 96% of those surveyed agreeing that even a small contribution can make difference in the lives of others, and 42% of New Zealanders who have or expect to contribute to services this year recognise the power of giving by noting that being generous makes them feel happy.
The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal commences on Monday 19 October 2020 and concludes on 24 December 2020.
Ways to give:
For more information, visit www.kmart.co.nz/wishingtree
 YouGov Survey: The research was conducted online by YouGov between 25 September-5 October, 2020. The total sample size was 1,033 adults 18+ years. The final data has been weighted using the latest population estimates and is representative of all New Zealand adults (aged 18+).
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash