Charitable organizations raise money, and lift spirits with Christmas tree sales
Milford Rotary members Walter Schnecker and Franz Frietsch sell trees in the parking lot of Frederick's Pastries in Amherst. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER PHOTO)
The Milford Rotary hosts three big fundraisers a year, including a pancake breakfast, a golf tournament, and the Christmas tree sale. Combined, the group raises more than $100,000 annually, which is then fed back into the community through scholarships and grants to local organizations and schools.
"We've bought weighted vests that help calm mentally challenged kids, stools for kids with severe ADD, and we've outfitted the police cars with portable defibrillators," said Benson. "We raise money and give it back to causes that make Bedford a better place to live."
Connor O'Regan, 15, a sophomore at Londonderry High School, was on hand Sunday helping folks put Christmas trees on their cars. O'Regan is one of the youth volunteers helping the St. Mark's sale, and said that watching the faces of children light up makes standing out in the rain and cold worth it.
Gordon Barnard, 85, has been volunteering to sell trees for longer than he can remember. As the oldest member of the Goffstown Lions Club, he can't think of a better way to get ready for the holiday.
For members of the Milford Rotary, volunteering at the tree sale is a labor of love that members have a hard time avoiding.
Keep the change
Families who buy their trees from charitable organizations tend to be loyal customers, said Deborah Ludwig of St. Mark's.
Though trees offered by non-profit groups tend to be priced higher than at retail stores, people don't seem to mind.
Paying a little more for the tree is also a way people who don't have time to volunteer can give back, said Walter Schnecker of the Milford Rotary.
Many of the organizations get their trees from Weir Tree Farms in Colebrook, and knowing they're supporting another New Hampshire business is an added bonus, said Benson.
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