Community

Christmas trees mean more than decoration at Aunt Leah’s

Top: Ross Harvey and his two-year-old son Jackson get in the spirit of things as they stop by Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree lot in front of the Eagle Ridge United Church in Coquitlam. Bottom right: Volunteer Joy Walcott-Francis measures a tree at the lot, where 100% of profits go to fund programs that help prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and young mothers from losing custody of their children. - Tim Fitzgerald/The Tri-City News
Top: Ross Harvey and his two-year-old son Jackson get in the spirit of things as they stop by Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree lot in front of the Eagle Ridge United Church in Coquitlam. Bottom right: Volunteer Joy Walcott-Francis measures a tree at the lot, where 100% of profits go to fund programs that help prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and young mothers from losing custody of their children.
— image credit: Tim Fitzgerald/The Tri-City News

Last week’s wet, dreary weather couldn’t dampen the mood outside Eagle Ridge United Church.

With the scent of pine trees in the air, volunteers at Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lot, located at the Coquitlam church, can’t help but smile. With the holidays just around the corner, nothing gets people more in the Christmas spirit than a eight-foot spruce.

“This is the first year we’ve been in town where we’ve had the chance to decorate the house,” says Ross Harvey, who with his two-year-old son Jackson look for the perfect tree for their living room. “We wanted to go all out and get the biggest tree.”

But just as important to Harvey, he wanted to help out with a what he described as a great charity.

Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lots use 100% of the profits of the sales of their trees and wreaths to fund programs that help prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and young mothers from losing custody of their children. They have been in operation in the Lower Mainland since 1995. In 2004, they expanded to Burnaby and last year opened on weekends in Coquitlam. But because of the community response, the lot at the Eagle Ridge United Church on Glen Drive will be open seven days a week until Dec. 23.

“We’ve had an amazing response from the community and the volunteers,” says Angelina Oates, coordinator of the Christmas tree fundraiser as well as thrift store supervisor and training programs coordinator at Aunt Leah’s.

As a non-profit organization that provides housing, training, and essential life skills for children in foster car and teen mothers, Aunt Leah’s relies on the kindness of others. This year, Oates estimates more than 300 people will donate their time to make the Christmas tree fundraiser a success in Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver.

As much as they appreciate the generosity of their customers, who Oates says often leave a little more in the till than what the price tag calls for, it’s also about great customer service.

“You can go to a big-box store but you won’t get the kind of service that we provide,” says Oates.

She said all volunteers are educated on how to help customers take care of their tree once they get it home as well as helping out with everything from bagging the  tree to loading it on your car. Aunt Leah’s also has an online service where customers can order their tree and a stand and have it delivered.

Oates says Aunt Leah’s was fortunate to have the site donated by Eagle Ridge United as well as receiving a large cash donation by Coast Capital.

• For more information on Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lot, visit www.auntleahs.org.

 

newsroom@tricitynews.com

 

Coquitlam lot does more than just sell trees

 

 

By Tim Fitzgerald

The Tri-City News

L

ast week’s wet, dreary weather couldn’t dampen the mood outside Eagle Ridge United Church.

With the scent of pine trees in the air, volunteers at Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lot, located at the Coquitlam church, can’t help but smile. With the holidays just around the corner, nothing gets people more in the Christmas spirit than a eight-foot spruce.

“This is the first year we’ve been in town where we’ve had the chance to decorate the house,” says Ross Harvey, who with his two-year-old son Jackson look for the perfect tree for their living room. “We wanted to go all out and get the biggest tree.”

But just as important to Harvey, he wanted to help out with a what he described as a great charity.

Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lots use 100% of the profits of the sales of their trees and wreaths to fund programs that help prevent children in foster care from becoming homeless, and young mothers from losing custody of their children. They have been in operation in the Lower Mainland since 1995. In 2004, they expanded to Burnaby and last year opened on weekends in Coquitlam. But because of the community response, the lot at the Eagle Ridge United Church on Glen Drive will be open seven days a week until Dec. 23.

“We’ve had an amazing response from the community and the volunteers,” says Angelina Oates, coordinator of the Christmas tree fundraiser as well as thrift store supervisor and training programs coordinator at Aunt Leah’s.

As a non-profit organization that provides housing, training, and essential life skills for children in foster car and teen mothers, Aunt Leah’s relies on the kindness of others. This year, Oates estimates more than 300 people will donate their time to make the Christmas tree fundraiser a success in Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver.

As much as they appreciate the generosity of their customers, who Oates says often leave a little more in the till than what the price tag calls for, it’s also about great customer service.

“You can go to a big-box store but you won’t get the kind of service that we provide,” says Oates.

She said all volunteers are educated on how to help customers take care of their tree once they get it home as well as helping out with everything from bagging the  tree to loading it on your car. Aunt Leah’s also has an online service where customers can order their tree and a stand and have it delivered.

Oates says Aunt Leah’s was fortunate to have the site donated by Eagle Ridge United as well as receiving a large cash donation by Coast Capital.

• For more information on Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree Lot, visit www.auntleahs.org.

newsroom@tricitynews.com

 

 

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