Trees for charity

Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Suffolk has any number of retail locations where folks can buy Christmas trees this year — nurseries, grocery stores, hardware stores and the like continue to be popular places for folks to choose their trees and strap them to the top of their vehicles.

There’s even a Christmas tree nursery on Carolina Road, near the North Carolina border.

But there are only two places in Suffolk where buying a Christmas tree serves as a way to benefit nonprofit agencies operating in the community.

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The Knights of Columbus – Suffolk Council 7363 began selling its 460 or so trees on Sunday from the Line-X/Sherwin Williams parking lot at 2432 Pruden Blvd.

“Three days in, and they’re actually selling faster than they did last year,” Christmas tree lot chairman Mike Bibbo said on Thursday.

Over on Godwin Boulevard, the deacons of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church have about 155 trees they will begin selling on Friday.

“Our plans are to start on Friday and sell until the lots are empty,” said Scott Laser, one of 33 deacons at the church and the one who drew the responsibility of leading the Christmas tree effort in its third year at Westminster.

Both organizations plan to use the funds they raise from Christmas tree sales to benefit the community.

“For the Knights of Columbus, whose first principle is charity, finding ways to help those in need in their communities is a mission its members embrace,” Bibbo stated in an email about the organization.

The Knights support a large variety of programs through Christmas tree sales. The Cheer Fund, Coats for Kids, disaster relief, the Salvation Army kitchen, the Seminarian Fund, Special Olympics and many more benefit from the Knights’ generosity.

At Westminster, the deacons started their tree sales a couple of years back as a way to raise money for the Western Tidewater Free Clinic and for the church’s Deacon’s Fund, which provides resources and support for people in the church body who are in need.

To help add money to the final totals, Laser said, this year there will also be a raffle. Every Christmas tree purchased from the lot will earn the purchaser a chance at a free helicopter flight, valued at $500. Raffle tickets also can be purchased for $20 each at the sale.

Laser said the drawing will be held “after the last tree has been sold.”

Westminster’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. this Friday, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. and weekdays from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Knights of Columbus will be selling their trees Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., Fridays from noon to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.