Xmas tree fundraiser ‘bigger & better’
DILLON – Dillon’s Christmas tree fundraiser to benefit the Advocates for Victims of Assault began as a spur-of-the-moment shopping spree at Walmart almost two years ago. Dillon resident Ginger Wray bought all Walmart’s leftover Christmas trees, and she gave them to local business owners to decorate for a silent auction.Now in its second year, Wray’s vision has grown due to Walmart’s tree donation.”This year, oh my gosh! It is just bigger and better,” Wray said. “They’re so creative this year.”Decorated trees are currently on display at the La Riva shopping center in Dillon. The silent auction runs until 8 tonight. Thirty-seven trees will be available for purchase‚ up from last year’s 28.”Walmart donated $1,000 worth of trees,” said Dawn Vranas, a resource development manager and a victim advocate for the nonprofit. “Ginger is donating all of the proceeds to Advocates. Those proceeds will help for direct victim services – emergency funds, rental assistance, food and counseling. It’s a really fun benefit to wrap up a really challenging and hard year for us.”According to Wray, $3,800 was raised at the inaugural event last December. She said she hopes more funds will be raised this year, since there’s an increase in trees available for the public. One tree is decorated with money, another has massage gift certificates, still another is covered in mini liquor bottles. “I appreciate the businesses and the local support. Even with the economic times people really stepped up,” Wray said. ” … Last year we had an anonymous person purchase four trees, and they turned them back to the Advocates, and then they were given to safe houses and people in need. If people don’t want a tree, purchase one and donate it to give to the needy.”Advocates has seen a 30 percent increase in people coming to them for help – “The economy does play a big part in it,” Vranas said. “And with community growth, there’s more people to serve.”Advocates for Victims of Assault was founded in 1979 to support victims of domestic violence. Services have since expanded to include victims of sexual assault, accidents, death and other trauma. “We really depend on community events like this to keep going,” Vranas said. For more info, visit summitadvocates.org.
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