BBBS Christmas Tree Sale Supports Mentoring that Makes a Difference
BRIDGES FALL/WINTER .14 ISSUE 41.
Help Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tri-State celebrate 40 years of making a positive difference in the lives of local children this holiday season by purchasing a Christmas tree at its annual sale or volunteering to work at one of the three sale locations across the region.
Each tree sold helps give the gift of a caring, mentoring adult to a child in need. It’s a gift that will last a lifetime. “This year will mark the 34th year Big Brothers Big Sisters will sell Christmas trees,” said Director Patti Price. “The sale is one of the first fundraisers instituted by our agency and continues to be a success each year. In celebration of our 40th Anniversary, our goal is to sell every Christmas tree to maximize proceeds for program services,” she added.
Searching the rows of freshly cut Frasier Firs, White and Scotch Pines for the perfect Christmas tree is a fun, family activity that will create a lasting memory in addition to giving participants a warm feeling knowing they have directly helped a child, said Price. The trees are sourced from sustainable high-quality plantations in the U.S. and are shipped directly to Big Brothers Big Sisters three tree lots.
LOCATIONS: Ashland Tennis Center 13th Street and Oakview Road BB&T Bank 6th Avenue & 1st Street Huntington, W.Va. HIMG Lot U.S. 60 Huntington, W.Va.
Trees vary in size and are individually priced, providing one for every budget. A limited number of fragrant, handcrafted wreaths are also available for purchase, but typically sell out quickly. Each year, more than 600 volunteers unload, set up and staff the tree sale lots, helping customers find that special tree, saw off the end and load it on their vehicle for safe transportation home.
The sale provides funding for programing and the paid staff who supports the legion of adult volunteer “Bigs” who give their time to mentor their “Littles,” as children in the program are called. During the last 40 years, BBBS of the Tri-State has helped hundreds of local at-risk youth overcome adversity in their lives in order to dream about and then achieve a brighter future through one-on-one mentoring.
The 34th Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Tree Sale begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29. The sale will continue until all trees are sold or until closing time Dec. 22. All lots open at noon on weekdays and at 9 a.m. on weekends. Lots close at 9 p.m. daily.
In addition to purchasing a tree, Price encourages more community members to “Start Something” and become a Big. Compassionate, dedicated adult volunteers are always needed, particularly men. There is always a long list of Littles waiting to be matched with that special person who can provide steady, thoughtful friendship and guidance, according to Price.
Community-based matches spend three to four hours twice a month participating in a variety of activities together. Volunteers must be at least 19-years-old, own vehicle and have a driver’s license. An interview, home visit, background check and reference check also are required. School-based matches meet an hour once a week during the school day.
To qualify as a “Big,” for the school-based program, volunteers must be 18 years old and able to provide their own transportation to the school. For the school program, Bigs do not need a vehicle or driver’s license, but must do an interview with a caseworker and pass a background and reference check.