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Trees for Tots

Submitted photo

This thank-you card was left for Tree for Tots volunteers.

Charity touched by awe-inspiring effort

A local charity raised a lot of money for children and a lot of community spirit as well Saturday as it collected Christmas trees from residences across the city.
About 100 volunteers using 40 pickup trucks picked up trees at 1,500 homes, and by the end of the day the Trees for Tots project of the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington had raised $20,584.
“We are in awe of both the impact that will be made to the lives of children in Guelph from these funds raised and the way the community rallied around Trees for Tots,” Children’s Foundation executive director Glenna Banda said in a news release.
“It has been a completely wonderful experience for us. I don’t think we got one ‘No’ when we asked for assistance,” she said. “Guelph really is an amazing community.”
The Children’s Foundation organized the event after council decided to save $22,000 in the city’s 2013 budget by eliminating the city’s free annual January pickup of Christmas trees. The Trees for Tots campaign asked for a minimum $5 per tree donation, giving residents another option aside from taking their trees to the city’s waste complex on Dunlop Drive for free drop-off there.
When more people than expected registered for curbside pickup of their trees, the Children’s Foundation put out an appeal last week for more volunteers and pickup trucks to collect the trees. A swift response from the community meant the charity had enough resources to do the job. Several local businesses also stepped up to the plate, including Battlefield, which offered an additional wood chipper, and Fred E. Prior and Sons with large trucks and employee help, the release said. The fundraising potential also took a leap when Scotiabank signed up to provide volunteer assistance and a donation of $5,000.
Terry’s Tree Removal had been the first firm to offer trucks and a wood chipping service for the program, free of charge.
Sara Jay, whose husband Terry Jay runs Terry’s Tree Removal, was staked out Saturday in a commercial parking lot near the corner of Edinburgh and Willow roads, coordinating the drop-off of large numbers of trees that were put through a wood chipper on the site. She said the wood chips would end up being dumped at a local farm to stabilize muddy areas and would be left to decompose there.
The Children’s Foundation credited Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association, for the idea that led to the Tots for Kids campaign.

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