Santa sacks are beginning to fill up as people across the city start to donate gifts to the Rotorua Salvation Army for Christmas 2019.

Alongside the Rotorua Daily Post Christmas Appeal for grocery items, Kmart is now collecting presents under its in-store tree for the Salvation Army to pick up each week.

Wishing Tree champion Olly Curtis said she hoped the initiative would take the stress out of Christmas for those families who were struggling.

"We understand Christmas can be a difficult time and, although Christmas isn't about the gift, it is nice for whānau to be able to give something to their children.

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"It takes a lot of financial pressure off families which means they can just enjoy the day."
Xmas
Last year, the Rotorua Kmart store was able to collect more than 1200 gifts for the community and this year Curtis hopes it will be even more.

Once in the hands of the Salvation Army, the gifts are wrapped and distributed to the right family, depending on what the gift is.

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

"The money is then put into purchasing gifts from the store to go to the Salvation Army."

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 families along with the food parcels."


From now until December 20, the Salvation Army team will be seeking non-perishable food donations to help the Salvation Army Foodbank continue its good work throughout the Christmas period and into 2020.

In the past year, the Salvation Army has supported more than 600 families and provided about 200 food parcels to those in need every quarter.

Foods including tinned baked beans, soup and spaghetti, plus staples such as pasta and rice were always welcome along with anything else people were willing to give.

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How to donate to the Kmart Wishing Tree
1. Place a gift under the Wishing Tree at any Kmart store
2. Add a little extra to your transaction by clicking the Wishing Tree logo on the self-serve checkouts
3. Drop your spare change in a coin collection box at any register
4. Take a bauble tag off the Wishing Tree and scan the barcode at any register to contribute
5. Give online at kmart.com.au/wishingtree