Toowoomba’s Kmart Grand Central began their first Wishing Tree Appeal on 15 November, in Kmart’s 30th year of hosting the Appeal.

Kmart partnered with the Salvation Army in 1987 to create the Wishing Tree Appeal to support families and individuals living in poverty at Christmas time, with approximately 400,000 gifts being donated each year.

Local Kmart manager Brendan Smith said he was excited to be a part of such a worthwhile event.

“Australia’s largest and longest running gift collection Appeal will once again support countless children, adults and seniors at a time where support is needed most,” Mr Smith said.

The Wishing Tree Appeal has collected more than eight million gifts over the past 29 years and benefits from the support of communities like Toowoomba.

Trevor Watts, Member for Toowoomba North, was Kmart Grand Central’s special guest at the Appeal launch.

“One of the great strengths of our local community is the willingness of people to lend a hand to others who are in need or who are facing tough times,” Mr Watts said.

The Salvation Army’s Secretary for Communication Lieutenant Colonel Neil Venables thanked supporters of the Appeal and explained that their efforts made a significant difference to the lives of others.

“During December, The Salvation Army assists three times more people compared to any other month due to increased financial pressure at Christmas with extra bills, upcoming back-to-school costs, special meals and holiday activities for the children added on to everyday living expenses,” Mr Venables said.

The Appeal will run until December 24, Christmas Eve.

Get involved with your local Kmart Appeal by placing a gift under their Wishing Tree, or by donating at any in store register.

Don’t miss your chance for a family photo with Santa at Grand Central this year.