Christmas gift donations scarce in South Auckland

By Wepiha Te Kanawa
  • Auckland

The K-Mart Wishing Tree Appeal is New Zealand's largest Christmas Appeal. It's now in its 23rd year with the aims of collect 50,000 gifts for families in need. But one South Auckland store is finding it hard to get donations.

It's the season for giving. But K Mart is appealing to the public to donate more gifts to its store in Papatoetoe as part of their wishing tree appeal.

Kmart Papatoetoe spokesperson Caitlin King says, “Last year in total came up Papatoetoe received just over 500 gifts our aim this year is to get 600 gifts, so far we have received about 90.”

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army are concerned children of families in need of help will miss out this Christmas.

Salvation Army spokesperson Jason Dilger says, “We've been working together for nearly 20 years and it's just fundamental to getting the toys in that we need to help the kids during Christmas.”

So far 11,000 presents have been collected across the country, Palmerston North Kmart with the most at 1,660 and Papatoetoe only at 90. The hope is by next week they will have 50,000 presents.

South Auckland Salvation Army Director Pam Hughes says, “There are fokes in Papatoetoe like the rest of South Auckland that are struggling, but even a small gift can make such a difference to a family.”

So the Salvation Army and Kmart are relying on community spirit.

Local residant Keljit Rkur says, “I just see lots of families struggling in my community especially in Papatoeteo, so I just want to help them by bringing presents.”

The donated gifts will be collected next Friday by the Salvation Army and will be distributed to families in need.