Buy a Christmas tree, help young people
Aunt Leah’s Place, a charity that provides housing and support for aboriginal teen moms and foster kids, is raising funds for programs by selling Christmas trees at lots in the Tri-Cities and throughout the Lower Mainland.
Since last Friday, the New Westminster-based organization has been selling trees at a Christmas tree lot at Eagle Ridge United Church, 2813 Glen Dr. (at Lansdowne). The lot is run by volunteers and will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas.
Last year, Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree lots in the Lower Mainland sold more than $130,000 worth of fresh cut trees. As well, the non-profit organization is launching an online tree lot (auntleahsplace.gostorego.com) where customers can purchase their trees and have them delivered to their homes or ready for pickup at one of the four Aunt Leah’s locations.
“People are doing their Christmas shopping online these days, why not buy your Christmas tree online too?” asks Gale Stewart, founder and executive director of Aunt Leah’s.
All of the profits from Aunt Leah’s Christmas tree lots go to pay for housing and programs to support vulnerable new moms and other youths who are aging out of the foster-care system, including kids in the Tri-Cities. Some of the apartments are located in this region and the tree lots will offer pre-employment skills to program clients.
“Without a supportive home to go to, these moms — many of whom were foster kids themselves — would be homeless and lose their babies to the foster care system,” says Stewart. “We are trying to stop this cycle.”
Aunt Leah’s started selling Christmas trees in the 1990s and “it has turned into a viable social enterprise and our Christmas tree sales have grown every year,” says Stewart.
The hours of operation of the tree lot are Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.