Lots of trees for sale

Published 8:16 pm Friday, November 27, 2015

Knights of Columbus-Suffolk member Curtis Mehalko (left) and son, Nolan Mehalko, volunteer at the organization’s Christmas tree lot on Friday.

Knights of Columbus-Suffolk member Curtis Mehalko (left) and son, Nolan Mehalko, volunteer at the organization’s Christmas tree lot on Friday.

When you buy a Christmas tree from Suffolk’s Knights of Columbus, you get more than a fresh-cut Fraser fir.

You are making an investment in the community, said Mike Bibbo, chairman of tree sales for KOC – Suffolk Council 7363.

It’s the same deal if you buy it from Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church’s deacons’ committee, which has already earmarked 25 percent of the proceeds from this year’s sale for the Western Tidewater Free Clinic.


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For the second consecutive year, the deacon’s group is selling Fraser firs at the church, which is located at 3488 Godwin Blvd. The deacons’ committee will use the remaining 75 percent of the money for its projects, said volunteer Carson Barnes.

He expects the 165 trees — all harvested from a Hillsville tree farm last week — will be gone within two weeks. The church’s trees range from in height from 5 to 10 feet tall, with prices beginning at $45.

All of the Knights of Columbus’ proceeds are also used locally, Bibbo said. The Christmas tree sale is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser. Last year, the sale generated $10,000 for service projects, Bibbo said.

“You are helping local families, children and veterans,” he said.  “Every dollar we bring in … goes back into this community.

“We buy wheelchairs for veterans, provide scholarships … and do a lot for intellectually challenged children,” he said. “We also make donations to the Cheer Fund, the Salvation Army…  and other nonprofits that serve Suffolk.”

Cynthia and Stacy Harris and their sons, Casey and Julian, spent Friday afternoon shopping for the perfect tall, fat Christmas tree before picking one at Westminster.

They said they like the idea of their purchase supporting a community project.

“I like a nice, full tree,” said Cynthia, walking around to inspect it from all angles. “I don’t want to be able to look through the branches and see the wall on the other side.”

Sales have been brisk since the trees arrived Monday to the Knights of Columbus lot outside Line-X of Suffolk, located at 2432 Pruden Blvd. Although it usually takes three weekends to sell out, Bibbo expects it will happen earlier this year since the Suffolk Elks Lodge — historically, the club’s main nonprofit competition in tree sales — is not operating its lot this year.

The community organization got 350 trees in its only shipment from a western Pennsylvania tree farm this year, Bibbo said.

“We are seeing an uptick from people who usually buy from the Elks,” he said. “We also have a lot of repeat customers who come out every year with the kids, pick a tree and take a picture.”

Volunteers give the trees new cuts, which helps keep them fresh longer, and then bag and load the trees for customers, Bibbo said.

The Frasers on the lot range from 6 to 12 feet tall, with prices running from $28 to $97, Bibbo said.

Between now and Christmas, the tree lot will be open Mondays through Thursdays, 6-9 p.m.; Fridays, noon-9 p.m.; Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-6 p.m. The tree lot is open, rain or shine, until Christmas or the trees sell out, Bibbo said.