Gearing up for Christmas with Knights of Columbus, NRHS JROTC

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Knights of Columbus are gearing up for another year of Christmas tree sales. 

Suffolk Council 7363 of the nonprofit organization teamed up with the Nansemond River High School Air Force JROTC to get over 400 freshly cut trees set up for their yearly holiday sale on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Line-X of Suffolk / Sherwin Williams parking lot located at 2432 Pruden Blvd. Marking the organization’s 16th year selling Christmas trees, sales started on Sunday, November 19. Past Grand Knight and Christmas tree Lot Co-Chair Mike Bibbo talked about the annual sale and what customers can expect.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers [including] this and the Peanut Fest, so we just had a really successful Peanut Fest, we’re hoping for a really successful tree sale. The trees were just cut on Wednesday, so they’re coming today. They are fresh, all Frasier Fir from 6’ to 9’ and a half feet this year, no big ones, unfortunately,” Bibbo said. “We also have the Nansemond River [Air Force] JROTC cadets who are making this possible for us. They volunteered their time to help us unload and unwrap the trees.”

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NRHS Air Force JROTC student Joey Tamayo detailed how he and his fellow cadets help the Knights of Columbus with the yearly holiday sale.

“Once the trees come in the lot, we help set them up and we do it by color coding. So the color coding is by size and then, those Christmas trees go to families,” Tamayo said. “I’m a transfer student. I’ve been doing this for three years and this is always one of my favorite [events] because it really helps us come together as a family. Kinda helps us build our team.”

Tamayo and his fellow cadets are also working on charity projects. Along with a canned food drive to help those in need during the holidays, the students also put their efforts toward H2O for Life, which focuses on providing youth learning opportunities to help solve the global water crisis through raising funds and awareness. The Knights of Columbus also helps the NRHS JROTC by supporting H2O for Life, among many other charities.

Bibbo talked about their fundraising efforts and some other charities they support.

“The vast majority, I would say 95% of the funds we raise from this and from Peanut Fest remain locally,” Bibbo said. “We do handle some bigger operations like Wheelchairs for Veterans, and we do the Special Olympics. We help out there a lot. Wreaths Across America … We help a lot of folks who need assistance with their utilities or Christmas, especially this time of the year. So, we identify those folks and help them when we can. We don’t look for a lot of recognition for that because it’s what we’re supposed to do. Our number one principle is charity and that’s what we’re all about.”

Lastly, on ways for residents to help out the Knights and their charity efforts, Bibbo said.

“Come out and buy a tree,” Bibbo said. “We’re all volunteers here, none of this goes back into our pockets. Every dollar we raise here goes right back. So the best way to help out is to buy a tree.”