This year marks the 29th anniversary of Australia’s largest and longest-running Christmas gift appeal, the Kmart Wishing Tree.
Together with appeal partners The Salvation Army and Mission Australia, the Wishing Tree will distribute gifts to more than 300,000 families and individuals.
Salvation Army spokesperson Major Paul Hateley said Christmas can be a challenging time for families who feel the strain of not being able to afford gifts for their loved ones.
‘During December, The Salvation Army assists three times more people compared to any other month due to increased budget pressure at Christmas,’ he said.
‘Extra bills, back-to-school costs, special meals and holiday activities for the children are added on to everyday living expenses. Often the last thing families can afford is presents for the children and this is devastating for a parent.
‘With the help of Kmart and the generosity of Australians nationwide, we are able to provide gifts to those who would otherwise go without at Christmas. When you place a gift under the Wishing Tree you’re giving far more than a gift. You’re giving fun, excitement and dignity.’
Kmart managing director Ian Bailey said everyday life could be difficult for families, and Christmas time was no exception.
‘The Kmart team is so proud of the longstanding history of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal and the tradition it has become,’ he said.
Over the three decades, the appeal has collected more than eight million gifts, and this year aims to collect 500,000.
People can take part in the appeal by placing gifts under a Wishing Tree at Kmart stores, making a donation at any Kmart register or donating online at kmart.com.au/wishingtree.