Santa sacks are filling up at businesses donating gifts to the Rotorua Salvation Army this Christmas.

Alongside the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal for grocery items, Kmart has been collecting presents under its in-store tree for the Salvation Army to collect each week.

Wishing Tree champion Kim Mulligan said the Rotorua store's goal was to collect 600 gifts when the collection launched in mid-November.

The store has since had to lift the goal twice when customers' generosity surpassed expectations.

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"After the strong start we had, we realised the goal of 600 wasn't enough. Then we pushed to 1000, then our manager said 'you know what let's go for 2000'."

Yesterday the tally was between 1200 and 1300 and the store's collection isn't expected to finish until Christmas Eve.

Mulligan said the staff were "thrilled" by the "really generous" response in the store's opening year.

Rotorua Kmart staff around the Wishing Tree from left, Olly Curtis, Kim Mulligan, Louie Walker and Estelle Smith. Photo / Ben Fraser
Rotorua Kmart staff around the Wishing Tree from left, Olly Curtis, Kim Mulligan, Louie Walker and Estelle Smith. Photo / Ben Fraser

"Rotorua is a high-risk area for the Sallies, they deal with quite a bit of poverty. So it has been a great opportunity for us to help."

She said customers could drop items off at the tree and label them with Kmart's Wishing Tree cards, or donate money at the checkout or online.

"The money is put into a pool then divided across the country's Salvation Army branches."

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Meanwhile, Rotorua Hyundai and Isuzu have donated a range of toys for the Christmas Appeal.

Rotorua Hyundai and Isuzu started collecting gifts for the Salvation Army in October. Photo / Supplied
Rotorua Hyundai and Isuzu started collecting gifts for the Salvation Army in October. Photo / Supplied

Customer services representative Rachel Lowe said the office started collecting gifts in October, including stuffed toys, books, skateboards, board games, and bags of age labelled wrapped presents.

"It's something nice to do for those in the community that don't get something at Christmas time... Some people can't afford presents."

The donations were dropped off to the Salvation Army last Thursday, ready to be made into hampers for families.

Salvation Army Rotorua corps officer Kylie Overbye said the branch was aiming to give out 120 hampers with food and toys this year.

"Some families have three, four even five kids. So the gifts help us to bring joy to the children along with the food parcels."