The Salvation Army this year presented Kmart with an award in recognition of its exceptional service to struggling Australians through the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, which celebrated its 25th anniversary of giving in 2012. The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is Australia’s largest Christmas gift appeal and has collected more than 5 million gifts over its 25 years.
The appeal invites community members to donate gifts for others (both children and adults) who may otherwise go without a gift at Christmas time. Once again, Australians wholeheartedly supported the appeal last year, donating 443,322 gifts and over $200,000 to The Salvation Army for distribution to people in need of support during the festive season.
The simple and kind act of placing a present undera tree or some coins in a collection tin can have a significant impact in the lives of others. This is reflected in the feedback received from a Salvation Army staff member at the Bendigo Community Support Services Programme:
“I remember one young mother who had four young children. She had been the victim of horrendous domestic violence a few months earlier and she and the children had fled the family home with no more than the clothes on their backs. As she wandered around selecting toys for her children she began to cry. A staff member took her to a quiet spot so she could take some time to work through things, and she said she was not sad, just completely overwhelmed that this service was available to her. She said her children would get nothing without these toys as she could not afford to purchase Christmas presents.”
The Salvation Army thanks Kmart and the generous Australian public for bringing hope to the lives of thousands of Australians.
Image: Commissioner Raymond Finger (Territorial Commander of the Australia Southern Territory at time of photo) presented the OTHERS award to Kmart representative Tracie Walker, who accepted on behalf of Kmart Managing Director Guy Russo, at the 2013 Red Shield Appeal launch in Victoria.