Festival of Trees Benefits Sandhills Children's Center
The 2008 Festival of Trees in its 12th year, will return Nov. 12-16, to the Carolina Hotel of Pinehurst Resort, transforming it from a golfer's paradise to a winter wonderland filled with thousands of twinkling lights and brilliant ornaments.
The annual benefit is held in an effort to raise money and awareness for Sandhills Children's Center, a sponsoring organization with two developmental day school campuses in Southern Pines and Rockingham, which serves the needs of children ages birth through five with and without disabilities. The benefit will feature the decorating talents of area merchants, organizations and individuals.
This year's festival is guided by the gifted and dedicated planning committee of Kelly Altman, Dana Barnes, Molli Beeson, Michelle Bolton, Louise Burton, Amy Butters, Lori Copper, Tommy Dowdy, Sharlyn Elmore, Tina Fasolak, Laura Goodman, Elizabeth Hoy, Roberta King, Laura Kite, Liz Koehler, Lisa Kruse, Elizabeth Landry, Marie Lewis, Jan Liverman, Carmen Lloyd, Sue Lloyd, Dawn Maser, Lynn Melton, Julie Moore, Nancy Oakley, Bonnie Parker, Kathie Parson, Erin ReVille, Joan Thigpen, Laura Tomanelli and Natalie Whaley.
"The committee has been working diligently since January of this year to put together a spectacular week for everyone involved," says a spokesman. "Be prepared to be dazzled by the assortment of lifestyle vignettes, 7 1/2 ft. trees, 4 1/2 ft. trees, wreaths, table-top trees, one-of-a-kind gift baskets, a gingerbread village and two new categories of centerpieces and tree skirts."
Each of the items will be available for viewing, and can be silently bid upon or purchased at the "Buy It Now" price, Wednesday through Saturday, until the eve of the gala celebration -- Saturday, Nov. 15 -- when the bidding will close, and the fate of the last handful will be decided in a "fight-to-the-finish."
Over the course of the last 12 years, the community's investment in this event has brought back to the center a total of $2,000,000. The money raised has, year-to-year, assisted the center in providing the best possible care to young children with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, vision and/or hearing impairments, speech impediments and many other developmental disabilities. Services include physical, occupational and speech therapy, class instruction by state certified teachers, transportation to and from school in Moore and Richmond counties, nutritious meals and an abundance of nurturing.
Private donations, including those raised through special fundraising events, are essential in the continuity of care for these young students.
Sandhills Children's Center's general operating budget has increased with growth and, unfortunately, funding cuts at the state level have continued to increase, having a significant impact on the bottom line. Currently, the cost of care per child in the program exceeds $44,000 per year.
"This event has allowed the Children's Center to continue to close that gap in a very positive, community-oriented way," says the spokesman.
If you have any questions about Festival of Trees or Sandhills Children's Center, contact Teresa Copper and Kathy Desmond at 910-692-3323 or www.festivaloftrees.org.
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