FOR an increasing number of Tasmanians, Christmas is a time of stress and sorrow, rather than a period of celebration and joy.
To bring a little Christmas cheer to those who need it most, Wednesday 18 November marked the official launch of the 28th annual Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal, which is supported by The Salvation Army.
The launch included a special performance by students from New Town Primary School, who delighted guests and shoppers with a selection of popular Christmas songs.
Mark Foyle, from The Salvation Army, said demand for the charity’s services in Tasmania continued to rise.
This included the need for assistance by people who had suffered from loss of work or reduced work hours.
“Increased cost of living, uncertainty with unemployment and rising utility costs have all contributed to a number of people who are struggling right now,” he said.
“We have people asking for assistance who have told us that not so long ago they were donating to the appeal.”
This year, the annual appeal wishes to collect more than 9,000 gifts across the state.
Kmart managing director Guy Russo praised the public’s support of the appeal.
“Our Kmart team is honoured to be able to provide stores where Australians can give to those who are doing it tough at Christmas,” he said.
“We are thankful for the public’s ongoing generosity toward our much loved Wishing Tree Appeal.”
To participate in the Wishing Tree Appeal, participants are simply required to place a gift (either wrapped or unwrapped) under the Wishing Tree, located at any Kmart store.
Donors are also asked to take a gift tag from the tree to specify the age and gender of a suitable recipient and place it with the gift, which is not to be purchased from Kmart.
Alternatively, donors can make a cash donation at any registered Kmart store or go to www.kmart.com.au/wishingtree to contribute online.
The 2015 Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal will run until Christmas Eve.