The annual Tree of Lights fundraiser by the Wellesley and District Lions Club has been a holiday staple for years, helping the service club support community projects. That was true again last month, though with many changes due to the pandemic.
The Tree of Lights typically runs in conjunction with Christmas Tyme in Wellesley and the parade, but the cancellation of that event forced the Lions to change course. Instead, the tree lighting was held virtually so people could watch online.
Despite all the changes that had to be made thanks to social distancing and other rules put in place, the latest fundraiser brought in $7,339.60 – “probably one of the best years we’ve ever had,” said Darrell Kirby, treasurer with the Wellesley and District Lions Club.
“I think we’re really just amazed at how this community steps up when the need is required. And this has been one of the best years that we’ve had for the community, stepping up and helping us to help others in the community when the need is there,” said Kirby. “We were really, really happy with the donations this year, and obviously there’s a huge need this year because of the pandemic and job losses and everything else.”
He says money will be given to Community Care Concepts (CCC), who will then split the money between Meals on Wheels and the Wellesley Family Outreach Fund.
Kirby says the addition of e-transfer to the campaign helped quite a bit as they were able to reach more people by moving into the 21st century.
“E-transfers have been I would say the major reason for the increase in our donations… I think the community here is so aware of the pandemic and the major problems [that arise] with [the] pandemic, especially people who have lost their jobs and some of the things that go along with that.”
Normally raising between $4,000 and $6,000 each year, the campaign asks residents to donate and buy a bulb for $10, a string of lights for $25, or a bulb on a star for $50.
The tree is still up – and will be until the end of the month. During this time, donations are still able to be made to the campaign.
Kirby says in February, the club will take some reserve money and top up the final donation before giving it to CCC.
To make a final donation to the Wellesley Tree of Lights campaign, e-transfers can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to Wellesley Lions Club, P.O. Box 281. Wellesley ON, N0B 2T0.