Kmart has officially launched its Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal alongside founding charity partner, The Salvation Army. This year marks 29 years of New Zealand’s largest and longest-running gift collection, which aims to create a brighter Christmas and New Year for the most vulnerable in our community.
In 2021, Kmart and The Salvation Army are spreading a ‘small gift, big heart’ message, letting Kiwis know that even the smallest gesture can go a long way. With many ways for people to give, it’s easy to take part and make a difference for someone in need. Whether it’s dropping a new gift, or essentials such as books, school supplies, socks, and towels in store under the Wishing Tree or making a monetary contribution. Funds raised will go towards providing locally responsive support services.
New for the 2021 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is the introduction of sustainable Wishing Trees in store which are made from 100 percent recyclable, renewable and reusable cardboard and an Express Drop Off point outside all stores for those wanting to contribute without entering, or where stores are unable to open fully.
Kmart’s Community Relations Advisor, Frankie Swithinbank says, “It is so important to us at Kmart to be able to run such an impactful initiative year after year and it’s exciting to include important new elements to the 2021 Appeal, such as the sustainable trees that people can adorn with handwritten stickers. We are humbled to see local groups coming together to support those who need it most.”
After a challenging year and with so many New Zealanders experiencing financial hardship, many for the first time, the significant pressures on physical and mental health have increased the urgent need for support. In the past year, The Salvation Army performed close to 75,000 assessments to identify ways that it could offer ongoing support for those in need.
The Salvation Army also saw 140,000 people engage with its services, while providing more than 34,000 social work sessions, 13,646 financial mentoring sessions, and housing over 4,000 people.
“The Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal is a vital opportunity for us to provide support to people right across New Zealand. There has been an increase in financial support requests coming to us with people struggling with income and job losses.
“It’s important for every family to have worth – for children to be able to open a parcel on Christmas morning and the parents able to provide a meal more special, is bringing worth and Mana to the family,” says The Salvation Army’s Corp Leader in Timaru, Lynda Bright.
There are many ways community groups can get involved in the 2021 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, including the Small Gifts, Big Hearts Program: a free community-based initiative for schools. This program provides teachers with activity packs filled with resources and lesson plans to help build awareness of the importance of thinking of others.
To get involved, head to the Wishing Tree website and sign up to receive your free electronic pack.
Corporate packs are also available for workplaces, and they explore different ways to get involved with the Appeal, whether you are working remotely or in the office. Corporate Packs are also free and easily accessible to download via the Kmart Wishing Tree website.