Countdown creates magic to fundraise for Kiwis in need this Christmas

Countdown is enlisting the services of Santa Claus to help raise $100,000 to support families in need this Christmas.

From today, as part of its Merry Moments fundraising drive for The Salvation Army, Countdown is asking Kiwis to take a selfie with its augmented reality Santa and post the merry moment on social media. For every Santa snap shared, Countdown will donate $5 to The Salvation Army to support thousands of families in need of food assistance.

Kiri Hannifin, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, says they’re confident of hitting the $100,000 target for the Salvation Army in a year when it’s most needed.

“The Salvation Army is expecting to need to help more Kiwis than ever this Christmas as people continue to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 and increased food insecurity. We believe everyone deserves to celebrate Christmas without hunger, which is why each donation, no matter how big or small, can make a huge difference,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Alongside Santa’s social media snaps, Countdown is encouraging customers to donate non-perishable goods in specially-marked trolleys in store, donate money at the checkout, or donate money, chilled and fresh foods through The Foodbank Project - New Zealand’s only online foodbank and a collaborative partnership between Countdown and The Salvation Army since 2015.

“This year, The Foodbank Project has seen a record number of donations from incredibly generous Kiwis, which means The Salvation Army’s foodbanks have been able to maintain a good stock in the lead up to Christmas,” says Kiri Hannifin.

“But The Salvation Army is already seeing rising demand for food assistance as we lead into Christmas, and the reserves won’t go far without top ups. Any money raised will also help cover some of the crucial operating costs of running a foodbank, like keeping the lights on and fridges running so their teams can focus on their most critical role of helping make sure Kiwis don’t go hungry at Christmas.”

Santa’s pal Ronnie the Reindeer has also been brought to life using augmented reality for customers who donate non-perishable items at the donation trolley in store. Once a food donation has been made, customers can scan a QR code to unlock something magical.

“We've used AR to bring Santa and Ronnie to life, so no matter where our customers are, anyone can help donate money and food to people in our community who need it most. Thanks to some smart technology, and our dedicated team and generous customers, we’re hoping to make a meaningful impact to our communities this Christmas,” says Kiri Hannifin.

Countdown is committed to serving the community and donates more than $5 million of food each year to The Salvation Army and other food rescue groups and foodbanks.

Santa can be found on the Countdown Supermarkets Facebook and Instagram pages on mobile. On Instagram @countdown_nz, customers will find Santa at the tab with the jolly little face emoji. From a desktop computer, customers can scan a QR code to visit Countdown Santa. For more information, check out

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