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Australia’s largest Christmas gift appeal celebrates its 25th anniversary

21, Nov, 2012

  • 25th year aimed at celebrating the tradition of giving
  • Over 5 million gifts donated to the Appeal in the past 24 years
  • More than 500,000 gifts needed to help this festive season
  • Now more than ever ‘living as one community’ is so very important

13 November 2012 – Celebrating 25 years of Aussies giving to others at Christmas time, the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has this year raised the target, aiming to collect half a million gifts for charity partner The Salvation Army.

Celebrity supporters including Alan Jones AO, Sophie Falkiner, Rob Mills and Lucy Durack (Legally Blonde the musical), Channel 9 newsreader Jaynie Seal, and Channel 10's Magdalena Roze helped kick off the national launch of the Appeal in Sydney today. While Kmart stores nationwide will officially launch their Appeals tomorrow, Wednesday 14 November, collecting gifts until Christmas Eve.

Unable to make the national launch, long-time supporter of the Appeal, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said: “I am honoured to lend my support to the Salvation Army and Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal. Christmas is a time for many things – family, friends and festivities. It is also an opportunity for reflection – reminding us of how much we have to be grateful for, and encouraging us to share our good fortune with those who need it most.

'It is this selflessness that has made the Wishing Tree Appeal such an enriching tradition. The simple act of giving to someone less fortunate embodies so many of the important things we celebrate at this time of year – kindness, compassion and altruism. It is the spirit of Christmas at its very best. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Australian public, the Salvation Army and Kmart will be able to bring the magic of Christmas to thousands of Australian families in need'.

Having collected over five million gifts during the 24 years of the Appeal from generous Aussies nationwide, Kmart boss, Guy Russo said Kmart feels so privileged to have been able to play a vital role in what has become a real Australian Christmas tradition.

'The Kmart team is honoured to stand side by side with these generous Aussies to support families who are doing it tough at Christmas. As times get tougher, we know even more people will need to seek help at Christmas time and the amazing result of the Appeal over the many years of its existence is proof that more than ever, in tough times, we all come together and truly care for each other,' said Guy.

This year we also hope that the nation can celebrate this longstanding tradition of giving by educating generations about supporting others. Guy continued: 'Now more than ever, living as one community is so very important. We hear so many stories of parents who gave as children and are now teaching their children to give, helping them understand what this time of year is about. We think that this is what has made the Appeal so blessed for so many years'.

Spokesperson for the Salvation Army, Major Bruce Harmer added: 'Over the years I’ve worked with many mums and dads who come to us in a state of need and helplessness at Christmas. To see them supported and encouraged through the provision of gifts and hampers for them and their children is very special, and seeing the hope reappear in their eyes is simply wonderful'.

The Salvation Army wants this year’s Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal to be the best that they have ever had in terms of helping others, and is encouraging Aussies to be generous, helping bring hope to others this Christmas.

'I’ve seen first-hand how a simple toy given to child at Christmas can bring joy to them. As I look back at our 25 year history with Kmart what I see is the great Australian spirit and generosity that shines through,' said Major Harmer.

To participate in the Appeal, simply place a gift under the Wishing Tree located in any Kmart store around Australia. Take a gift tag from the tree to identify the age and gender of a suitable recipient and place it with your gift. Gifts do not have to be wrapped, or purchased at Kmart. Alternatively, you can make a cash contribution to the Appeal at any Kmart store register or online at http://wishingtree.kmart.com.au Cash contributions are converted into Kmart gift cards, which are distributed by The Salvation Army, allowing Appeal recipients to choose their own Christmas gift.

For further media information please contact:

Lauren O’Hara | Kmart Corporate Affairs | Mobile: 0458 271 002| Email: lauren.ohara@kmart.com.au
Tracie Walker | Kmart Corporate Affairs | Mobile: 0419 984 964| Email: tracie.walker@kmart.com.au