Festival of Trees funds aim to relieve holiday stress for families

Do good decorators

There’s a little Christmas magic happening at the Best Western Premier on Anderson Way. Local businesses are participating in the Festival Of Trees.

Businesses buy a tree for $500, explained the hotel’s director of sales Dee Cristante who adds 10 trees were bought this year.

She says the money will be used to help support local families. “It’s for the adopt a family program with NOYFSS” (North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society).

The hotel lobby was a hubbub of decorators, embellishing their trees with various themed ornaments.

Home Depot’s tree was outfitted with their signature orange aprons and work gloves while the BC Cattlemen's Association tree was adorned with branding symbols, tiny cowboy hats and lots of sparkle.

Almost 100 families benefited from last year’s event and Vicki Proulx with NOYFSS says they are on track to do the same this year. She attributes the rising need over the past few years to “pandemic related things, mental health and inflation right now is a big one.”

Proulx points out NOYFSS tries not to support the same family year after year to avoid creating dependency, but “sometimes a family’s problems can last longer than a year.”

When it comes to what NOYFSS families are hoping for this year “A lot of our families are just looking for grocery cards and maybe some gift cards to buy some presents.” Proulx adds “It’s giving families what they need to get through the holiday and make them less stressful.”

Crisante says there is a little something extra this year for 5 families. The Best Western will be offering them a complimentary “staycation” in January. “So they’ll be able to come and stay in a beautiful room, and the kids can swim in the pool, with a really nice dinner for them in the Ballroom and they can have breakfast the next day,” says Crisante. She realizes for some families this may be their first time ever staying in a hotel.

The backdrop of trees will also serve as holiday ambiance for the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Night to Remember Dec. 8. Attendees will be given ballots to vote for their favorite tree.

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