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    GIFT OF GIVING: The Salvation Army’s Tracey Sutton, left, with Kmart staff Kylie Smith, Andrea Thistlethwaite, Trista Hillman, Jaimie Hillman and Suzanne Puls. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Growing need for Christmas cheer as appeal launches

Rising living costs are reinforcing the importance and value of annual Christmas appeals across the region. 

Among them, Kmart Horsham launched its annual Wishing Tree Appeal last week, supporting children, adults, seniors and families who are unable to afford gifts at Christmas. 

Salvation Army Horsham captain Tracey Sutton said the list of people seeking assistance was growing –every day. 

“With the rising cost of living and most of people’s pay going to their rent, there’s not much left for food or for toys,” she said. 

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“We’re getting calls every day. Our list is growing and growing and that’s okay, that’s what it’s there for, but it makes the launch for Kmart even more important. 

“There’s a huge, huge need.” 

Mrs Sutton said growing calls for assistance were also broadening and The Salvation Army could offer a range of supports. 

“It’s not just those on Centrelink or low income earners; it’s the working poor. It’s those who are working and all their money is going to rent and bills,” she said. 

“We have a huge waitlist for our units at the moment, because we have working people coming to us saying, I need help and I’m struggling to pay my rent. 

“It’s a very vulnerable thing for people to come and to admit, I need help. 

“But that’s what we’re here for and that’s what we want to be in The Salvos – to be that light in the darkness and spread some Christmas cheer.” 

The Kmart appeal is Australia’s largest and longest-running Christmas gift appeal. 

Kmart Horsham manager Suzanne Puls said the appeal received about 1000 gifts in Horsham alone annually, catering for all ages, which are distributed via The Salvation Army. 

She said people could also make a monetary donation at a register. 

Mrs Sutton said a World Kindness Day initiative at Horsham College was also donating to The Salvation Army’s Christmas appeal and a Dimboola girl was also seeking to set-up a gift collection point in the town. 

People can also make donations directly to The Salvation Army. 

People wanting support can phone The Salvation Army Horsham on 5382 1770. 

The entire November 22, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!