Christmas spirit returns with wishing tree
IT was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Kmart in Dunedin yesterday as presents started piling up under the Kmart Wishing Tree.
The 24th annual appeal officially started again, and will allow the Salvation Army to support disadvantaged people across New Zealand this festive season.
Wishing tree coordinator Dawn Barnes said the Dunedin store collected nearly 4000 presents last year, and hoped that record could be broken this year.
She said more than 682,000 people were living in poverty across New Zealand, and the appeal was necessary to support children, adults, seniors and families who could not afford gifts at Christmas and beyond.
Salvation Army Dunedin City Corps executive ministry leader David McKenzie said the community’s generosity made a significant difference to the lives of many Dunedin families.
‘‘It’s not that they don’t have anything decent to give their kids. They don’t have anything to give their kids.
‘‘We don’t necessarily see what the child’s reaction is when they get a present, but we do see what the parent’s reaction is when we give them a present to give to their child.
‘‘We see gratefulness. Sometimes there are tears.’’
The Salvation Army helps more people in December than in any other month.
Bills, upcoming backtoschool costs, and extra costs of having the children at home added to everyday living expenses, and the financial pressure at Christmas increased dramatically.
Following several speeches at the Dunedin appeal launch, a cake was cut by international rally car driver Emma Gilmour and Fairfield School pupils sang Christmas carols.
Otago residents can donate to the appeal by placing a gift under the wishing tree at the Dunedin store (gifts do not need to be bought from Kmart); adding a little extra cash to transactions; dropping spare change in a collection box at any register; or giving online at kmart.co.nz/wishingtree.
The appeal runs until Christmas Eve.
Festive spirit . . . Celebrating the launch of the 2017 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal are (from left) Kmart employee Becky Clinch, wishing tree coordinator Dawn Barnes and Fairfield School pupil Annabel Kelly (12).