A tree lit with lovePublished 9:31am Friday, October 30, 2009
Niles Daily Star
In a sizable dining room near the cafe on the ground floor of Lakeland Healthcare hospital in Niles on Thursday, a group of very hardworking volunteers are meeting, as they do every year for one very special reason.
Marge Reep, Pat Coons, Eleanor Brown, Frances Quirk and Kay Gardner – just five of a team of eight volunteers who make up the Tree of Love committee, were shy a few members of their team but still hard at work spearheading the hospital’s annual fundraiser.
The annual Midge Tyler Tree of Love remains a tradition that has lasted 15 years and provided some much needed funding to the hospital.
This year, the committee is at it again, hoping to raise money to go toward furniture in the Obstetrics wing.
Reep said last year the group was able to raise more than $5,500, “much better than expected” considering the economic climate.
“We’re hoping even better this year,” she said.
Through Tree of Love, Lakeland hospital in Niles will decorate the blue spruce sitting just in front of the main entrance and those who participate can donate $5 or more to have a light illuminated in honor or memory of a loved one.
A “Scroll of Love” will also be displayed in the hospital lobby to recognize those who have been honored.
The committee is already seeing a return of donations from mailers that they have been sending out to a list of more than 1,200 community members.
Donations can also be made at the hospital, by stopping at the front desk just inside the main entrance and picking up a donation form.
Reep said the committee starts working on their campaign around the middle of October, donation forms must be filled out and returned by Nov. 13 if donators want to see their names printed in an annual program booklet for the Tree of Love lighting event. But donations are accepted throughout December.
The annual event was started by the Pawating Auxiliary of Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles.
Reep, Coons, Brown, Quirk and Gardner not only keep track of donations coming in and donations invitations going out – but also send acknowledgements to donators, thanking them for their gift and to those being honored by the donation.
Participating is important, Reep said, because “I think it’s a community affair.”
“And,” added Gardner, “all the money goes to the hospital.”
The annual lighting of the Tree of Love will take place in a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 2. The ceremony typically includes entertainment for those who attend, which Reep said was still being finalized.
For those who can’t make it to the hospital but would still like to donate can call the auxiliary at 687-1433.