Sunday 14 December 2014, 7:41PM

By Undertow Media


With only 11 days to go until Christmas, The Salvation Army and Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal are asking for Kiwi’s cross-country to dig deep and share the love this holiday season for those who need it most.

With today marking the halfway point of the Appeal, the tally stands at 7,479 gifts, a figure that has prompted a call for Kiwis to pitch together and dramatically hike this figure in these crucial last weeks.

This year New Zealand’s largest Christmas gift appeal hopes to collect more than 45,000 presents from generous Kiwis, a 15 per cent increase on last year’s target.  

The Salvation Army’s Secretary for Social Services, Major Pam Waugh, says that Christmas can become an especially hard time of year when families feel the strain of not being able to afford something special for their loved ones, so Appeal’s like this are all the more important.

“What’s surprising is that the need for assistance around Christmas doesn’t just include those receiving a benefit or pension. Over 12.5% of the 35,000 people assisted by The Salvation Army in our last quarter (to Sept 2014) were ‘working poor’. These are people receiving an income but who are still struggling to make ends meet. With the assistance of Kmart’s Wishing Tree Appeal, The Salvation Army helps minimise these pressures by providing some much needed cheer.”

Kmart NZ manager, Sue Smith, said she was proud of the tradition that the Appeal had become for many Kiwi families and was honoured to be a part of its long-standing history.

“The Wishing Tree Appeal truly embodies our national spirit of helping out our neighbours. We want to thank the New Zealanders out there who have made a difference in the 19 years gone by and plan to this year too.  Waking up on Christmas Day and knowing you’ve made a difference to a family that really needs a hand is something quite special.”

Donating is easy. New Zealanders are invited to simply choose a gift that is suitable for the recipient’s gender and age, and then place it under the Wishing Trees located at Kmart stores the country over.

Kmart welcomes gifts purchased from any retailer, not just Kmart.  

Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in partnership with The Salvation Army has collected an impressive 380,000 gifts plus over its New Zealand tenure, benefitting those that might otherwise go without come Christmas Day.

To get involved, simply visit or visit your nearest Kmart store.