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Rotary Club of Taieri youth committee member Trevor Millar said the Mosgiel Giving Tree was erected in the ANZ Mosgiel branch late last month.
The tree was decorated with Christmas cards which had the gender and age of a child attached.
People were encouraged to select a card, buy a suitable present for the child, wrap it and put it under the tree before Friday, December 17.
The presents would be distributed by the Mosgiel foodbank, alongside food parcels, later this month, he said.
About 250 presents were needed, Mr Millar said.
He hoped children would get an "unexpected surprise" when they received their gifts.
"I think it’s something that Rotary can do to help everybody," he said.
"I think it’s just a great initiative."
If people bought their present from The Warehouse in Mosgiel, they could get a 30% discount when they showed a staff member the card from the giving tree.