WITH more than 2.9 million Australians living in poverty, Christmas can be a stressful time rather than one of celebration and joy.
To bring a little Christmas cheer to those who need it most, Wednesday 15 November marked the official launch of the 30th annual Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, supported by The Salvation Army.
Australia’s longest running Christmas gift appeal will once again provide support to children, adults, seniors and families who are unable to afford gifts at Christmas and beyond.
The Kmart Rosny launch included a special performance by students from the Montagu Bay Primary School choir, who delighted guests and shoppers with a selection of popular Christmas carols.
To date, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has collected more than eight million gifts.
Kmart managing director Ian Bailey said the appeal had grown significantly during the past 30-years.
“And so too has the support from the local community,” he said.
“We’re proud that the Appeal has become a long-standing Christmas tradition for all Australians and we know that this generosity is felt long after the holiday period.”’
The Salvation Army’s Stuart Foster thanked supporters of the Appeal.
He said their efforts made a significant difference to the lives of others.
‘‘During December, The Salvation Army assists three times more people compared to any other month,” he said.
“This is due to increased financial pressure at Christmas with extra bills, upcoming back-to-school costs, special meals and holiday activities for the children added on to everyday living expenses.
‘‘Through our partnership with Kmart and thanks to the generosity of Tasmanians, we are able to provide gifts to those who would otherwise go without, not just at Christmas but at any time of the year.
“The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal truly does give hope where it’s needed most.’’
To participate in the Wishing Tree Appeal, simply place a gift (preferably unwrapped) under the Wishing Tree located at any Kmart store.
Take a gift tag from the tree to specify the age and gender of a suitable recipient and place it with your gift.
Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart and can be handmade or purchased from any retailer.
Alternatively, donors can make a cash contribution at any Kmart store register or visit the website at www.kmart.com.au/wishingtree.
Cash contributions can be converted by Kmart into Kmart gift cards, allowing Appeal recipients to choose their own Christmas gift.
The 2017 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal will run until Christmas Eve.
Caption: Kmart Rosny team, from left, Tania Young, Janell Gray, Deanna Wilson and Julie-ann Sutton.