Kmart North Rockhampton’s Kristy Capell loves the wishing tree tradition and is urging others to give a gift that counts this festive season.
Kmart North Rockhampton’s Kristy Capell loves the wishing tree tradition and is urging others to give a gift that counts this festive season. MEGAN LEWIS Ml

Generous Rocky leads way in gifts

IT’S become a family tradition for Rockhampton’s Kristi Capell to touch the lives of families less fortunate on Christmas day.

Rockhampton residents like Kristi have donated a record number of gifts for the city in the first week of the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal helping Queensland lead other states in gift giving.

Yesterday Kristi, who is a supervisor at Kmart and has been organising the appeal locally for the past three years, said the latest count had reached 279 gifts, well above last year.

On Friday, 179 gifts had been donated in Rockhampton compared to 31 after week one last year.

Kristi, 22, said she and her little brother had been picking out an extra present and placing it under the Kmart Wishing Tree for the past 12 years.

“You never get to know who you help, but it’s so touching knowing someone less fortunate will get a surprise on Christmas Day,” Kristi said.

Overall, Queensland is beating every other state in the tally, up almost 100% from the same period last year.

More than 50,000 adults, teenagers and children in need are expected to benefit from the generosity of Queenslanders, whose donations will be distributed by The Salvation Army.

With record numbers of Australians expected to seek welfare help this Christmas following the economic downturn, this year the appeal aims to collect 400,000 gifts nationally.

In the past year, The Salvation Army has seen a 20% increase in the number of families it has helped in South-East Queensland.

Anyone wanting to help a family in need can place a wrapped or unwrapped gift under a Christmas Wishing Tree at any Kmart store right up to Christmas Eve.

Salvation Army Captain Derek Whitehouse has called for Queenslanders to deliver presents early so they can be delivered to families and individuals in need straight away.



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