Makayla Corrigan at the Kmart Wishing Tree, holding a Christmas present for a needy family.
Makayla Corrigan at the Kmart Wishing Tree, holding a Christmas present for a needy family. Sarah Harvey

Wishing tree crucial for needy families

THE Kmart Wishing Tree has helped improve Christmas for millions of needy Australian kids since it was introduced 25 years ago.

This year appeal organisers at Redbank Plaza are calling for shoppers to be particularly generous, as more families than ever are feeling the pinch due to natural disasters and cost-of-living pressures.

Anyone can leave a toy under the Wishing Tree at Redbank Plaza from now until close of business on Christmas Eve.

Salvation Army members will collect donated presents regularly and distribute them to families across Ipswich.

Redbank Wishing Tree champion Mark Snow asked that people did not donate second-hand gifts, due to hygiene concerns.

"Toys can be wrapped or unwrapped," Mr Snow said.

"If you are thinking of donating, don't forget we need heaps of toys for teenagers too - they tend to be forgotten about."

After collecting 407,000 Christmas gifts nationally last year, organisers are aiming to top 470,000 gifts in 2011.

Generous Australians have given 5.3 million gifts to the cause since its inception 24 Christmases ago.

Customers can also donate gift cards or make a donation at one of the in-store collection boxes.

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