The 26th annual Wishing Tree Appeal launched this week in Kmart stores across Australia. The Salvation Army and Kmart are hoping the Australian community will get behind the appeal and help reach the national target of 500,000 gifts.
The Salvation Army will distribute the gifts donated by the public in Kmart stores to Australians doing it tough this Christmas.
One in two Salvation Army clients will not be able to afford gifts for family members and friends this Christmas, according to a survey of clients accessing emergency relief and community services conducted in May.
“Christmas is a hard time for people doing it tough. With Kmart’s help, we can help to bring hope and joy to Australians in need this holiday season,” said The Salvation Army’s Dr Bruce Redman.
The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal has collected more than six million gifts since the Appeal commenced in 1988.
Kmart Managing Director, Guy Russo, praised the continued support of the Appeal across Australia.
“Each year we continue to be astounded at the thoughtful gifts placed under the Wishing Tree and I know this year will be no different. Communities around Australia continue to spread the joy of Christmas and generously give their time and money to support those less fortunate,” said Mr Russo.
“Over the years The Salvation Army has worked with many mums and dads who come to us in a state of need and despair 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,” said Dr Redman.
This Christmas, The Salvation Army expects to assist approximately 300,000 people. In December, The Salvation Army will assist three times more people compared to any other month.
Kmart and The Salvation Army encourage Australians to place a gift under the Wishing Tree located in any Kmart store or at the Express Gift Drop off point located at the front of the store. As an alternative to donating a gift, cash contributions can be made at the register or in the coin collection boxes located at store check outs. These contributions are converted into Kmart gift cards and distributed by The Salvation Army to recipients to choose their own gift.
Another way that the public can help The Salvation Army to help others this Christmas is by donating to the annual Christmas Appeal online.