Market community spreads record-breaking cheer

People of Adelaide

Over the past weeks, Australia has shown its generosity in countless ways: from the incredible community response to bush fire appeals, to organisations seeking to make the festive season one everyone can enjoy. Our hats go off to the many inspiring individuals who work tirelessly to bring initiatives that support communities to life and we’re proud to introduce you to one local whose efforts help make Christmas special for hundreds of children across Adelaide.

Every year, Alison Kelty works quietly behind the scenes at the Central Market Arcade in the city’s bustling Market Precinct coordinating the Salvo’s Giving Tree.

A member of the arcade community for 40 years, Alison was working in the family business when she approached centre management nine years ago to initiate this now annual tradition. Since then, the number of gifts donated has continued to grow each year, with a record breaking 1,750 gifts donated in 2019.

Rumoured to be the largest Salvo’s Giving Tree in South Australia, the presents begin to appear in late November, and grow by the day as Christmas draws closer – creating a sea of colourful gifts piled up to the picket fence surrounding the tree.

Central market arcade tree

DONATED GIFTS underneath the Salvo's giving tree in the central market arcade.

The Salvo’s Giving Tree receives donations of all shapes and sizes, from toys, clothes and sports equipment, to art materials and gifts covered with hand painted wrapping paper, dropped off by a group of local school children.

“It is wonderful, watching the number of gifts grow, and listening to the conversations,” said Alison. “Parents explain to their children that not every child is lucky in receiving gifts at Christmas, and the Salvation Army will give their gifts to families in need.”

Alison recalls one year a wooden tricycle was left under the tree, painted with individual designs by a young child as a gift to another.

“Every gift donated is special, chosen and wrapped with care, and Central Market Arcade customers are incredibly generous with their gift donations."
Alison Kelty

Alison also fondly remembers visiting the arcade early one morning to neaten the display, finding four gentlemen sitting on the bench near the tree - they had been arriving each morning to guard the presents before security started for the day.

Thanks to the generosity of the large Central Market Arcade community in 2019, nearly 1,800 children in Adelaide received gifts they otherwise would not have at Christmas.

“There are so many stories and experiences over the years of the Giving Tree, and the feedback from the Salvo’s is that this really does make a difference," said Alison.

The Salvo’s Giving Tree is set to return in 2020 and, thanks to Alison and the Central Market Arcade community, is sure to bring joy to many more children in years to come.

Article by

Kate Klavins

You’ll usually find Kate exploring Adelaide’s gardens, bookstores and art galleries. The detail in even the tiniest bloom won’t escape her attention, a trait that goes well beyond the florist.