Charity tree lot open this week

Published 9:37 pm Saturday, November 20, 2021

The Knights of Columbus Christmas tree lot is back this year and will be raising thousands of dollars for local charities.

Folks who want to get a tree from the lot are urged to go as soon as possible, as there is a shortage of trees this year.

The shortage stems from the economic downturn in 2008, when farmers planted fewer trees than in most years. The Knights have only 255 trees to sell this year, compared to the usual 500 or so.

“We probably won’t make it until next weekend,” Christmas tree chairman Mike Bibbo said on Saturday morning.

In addition to the shortage of trees, there was difficulty getting them here, Bibbo said.

“We had difficulty finding a trucker this year, so we ended up actually driving out to the Blue Ridge Mountains and getting our trees this year ourselves, which was a challenge,” Bibbo said.

The per-tree cost to the Knights has gone up about $7 this year, Bibbo said. As a result, the trees, all Fraser firs, are going for between $57 and $107 this year.

This is the 14th year of the local chapter of the Knights, a Catholic men’s service group, doing the tree lot. They took it over from the Suffolk Jaycees, who had done it for decades before that.

The Knights help a number of charitable causes with the money raised, two of which received donations while the trees were still unloading on Saturday morning.

The Nansemond River High School Air Force JROTC received a donation to help with its project to help build water wells in developing countries. In exchange, dozens of its cadets came out on Saturday morning to help unload the trees from the trailer.

In addition, the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund was on hand to receive a $1,000 donation from the Knights.

“The rest of the proceeds really go out to many organizations in Suffolk, from buying wheelchairs for veterans to helping the food pantries, and any folks who have come across trouble paying bills,” Bibbo said. “Every dollar we make here goes right back out.”

Rob Quinn and Kevin Thomas are also on the Christmas tree committee with Bibbo.

The tree lot is open from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. It is located in the parking lot of Sherwin Williams and Line-X, 2432 Pruden Blvd.