A record-breaking $768,162 has been donated to hospice services across the country this week thanks to the generosity and support of Farmers Department Store customers and staff.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Caring Connections in our Community event gives Farmers customers the opportunity to remember someone special to them, and to make a donation or buy a limited-edition Christmas tree bauble in support of the work of hospice.

All funds donated in each store remain in the local community, helping to ensure that hospice care remains free of charge for people with life-limiting conditions, their families and whānau. For Waikato Hospice, the three Farmers stores in Hamilton plus the Thames and Matamata stores, together raised almost $60,000.

The chief executive of Hospice NZ, Mary Schumacher, says: "Our heart-felt thanks to everyone who contributed to this extraordinary result.

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"The funds raised will make a real difference for people using hospice services throughout New Zealand.

"It's humbling to see the way people come together for this event to remember their loved ones and to ensure their community's hospice service remains free of charge. We are incredibly grateful to everyone at Farmers for being such wonderful ambassadors for hospice, and to their customers for their generosity and kindness."

Acting chief executive of Farmers and chief financial officer, Michael Power, says: "The delivery of a national store-wide approach to our charity campaigns helps build a meaningful opportunity to connect with the community, as our staff work in unison toward a common goal.

"At Farmers we are extremely proud of the amount raised during our Christmas hospice campaign through a combined effort and generous donations made by our customers, our staff and our business. It's heart-warming to know the positive difference it will make in our communities."

Craig Tamblyn, chief executive of Hospice Waikato, says: "For the people of the Waikato, the donation of $58,322 will enable Hospice Waikato to ensure our services remain free of charge for our patients and their families/whanau. We can't thank the team at Farmers enough for the way they have embraced raising funds and awareness for our community's hospice.

"Their enthusiasm and commitment alongside the support of the people of the Waikato have contributed to this amazing result to support our services. Thank you so much."