Even though it had a new format this year, the community was still eager to support the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees: Home Edition, presented by Kingston Midstream.
The fundraiser, which has typically been the foundation’s largest of the year, was held over several weeks in the fall, with activities for families and businesses, a silent auction, a 50-50 draw and more.
“Overall our Festival of Trees went amazing this year,” said Breanne Van De Woestyne, the foundation’s executive director. “We had really low expectations, because we didn’t really know how things would work with all of the COVID restrictions.”
The foundation said this year’s effort was about celebrating Christmas and the positive things happening in the healthcare community.
An ultimate 50-50 was drawn last Wednesday, with Glenda Walter’s name being drawn; she took home $10,245, with the other half of the jackpot going to the foundation.
“The winner was very excited when we gave her a call, and that’s all that truly matters, is hearing the excitement on the person who actually won the $10,000 was truly neat,” said Van De Woestyne.
Families enjoyed the Kids’ Zone Christmas Kits, which were sponsored by the Estevan Mercury. Parents and children ordered Santa’s Workshop Kits and Night Before Christmas Kits. There were 175 kits available this year, and those were gobbled up in about 4 1/2 days, which Van De Woestyne described as “crazy.”
“We offered free delivery, so we were out and about delivering packages to different families,” she said. “Getting the messages and the social media posts and just the feedback from families enjoying that time with their family, that was what that whole activity was about, was to be at home with your family and just taking in some new traditions, or just spending time together and taking in the Christmas atmosphere and spirit, and also at the end of the day supporting a great cause.”
The crafts turned out wonderfully, and the kids were excited to work on them.
Two options were offered to corporate sponsors who attended last year: they could have an advertising package through the foundation’s local media partners, or a catered office lunch. In some case, they received a lunch, and in others, they received gift cards.
The foundation also had hot chocolate charcuterie and dessert trays delivered to offices and homes in the community.
The final component was a silent auction that wrapped up Friday night. This year they were able to reach the general public, rather than just those who attend the gala. Thirty-five items were available, with prices that ranged from $200-$3,500.
The silent auction ran for just over a month, and generated a lot of excitement. It also put a spotlight on the businesses.
Among the items available were four brightly decorated Christmas trees.
A final figure on how much money was raised has not been tabulated, but Van De Woestyne said they will have a lot of funds to use towards equipment in the hospital. St. Joseph’s currently has a capital wish list for about $400,000.
The next edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.
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