The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

December 24, 2013

Festival of Trees raises funds for Hospice of Stanly County

By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer

Sunday, December 22, 2013 — For most people getting a head start on Christmas means decorating the Christmas tree at Thanksgiving. For Hospice of Stanly County it means breaking out the ornaments in March.

For their annual Festival of Trees, volunteers begin making their signature angel ornaments for the “angel trees” before spring began.

“They meet every Wednesday to work on them. They usually finish up around October,” Hospice Executive Director Audrey Howell said.

Each year they create a new design and make 1,250 of the angel ornaments to occupy 12 angel trees. And while they may not be as colorful as some of the sponsored trees, Howell said the sheer number of them makes an impressive sight.

The ornaments are sold for $10 each in honor or memory of any individual the purchaser chooses. The ornaments hang on the angel trees throughout the festival and are then given to the buyer.

“They make for a thoughtful kind of gift and it’s one of our largest fundraisers,” Howell said.

Some of this year’s ornaments are still available for purchase.

“It’s a special thing that ties us to the community and helps us make an impact on people’s lives,” Howell said.

The rest of the trees in the festival are meant to celebrate ties to the community as well.

“They’re sponsored by groups or individuals in the community and then decorated in memory or in honor of someone in the community,” Howell said.

One tree, sponsored by Trinity Place and decorated with bingo cards and pictures of local bingo players, is entitled “Bingo Blast.”

“It’s in memory of Roy Still who played a big role in the Little Red Schoolhouse. He also did a lot to get bingo events going,” Howell said.

Another was done in honor of Summer Miller, the daughter of the owner of Love and Care West, who has been battling cancer.

“There are dozens of stories like that,” Howell said.

“[The trees] are just a way for us to give back as a community to the people who have given back to us,” Howell said.

The trees will be on display at the Stanly County Commons through the end of December.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at