Tree of Lights ready to light up the area

BARRY’S BAY – The Tree of Lights campaign is on its way to Barry’s Bay to once again support the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation (SFMH).

The campaign began in 2001, when the hospital foundation was established.
This yearly tradition is now no longer just seen as a way to support the hospital, but has now become a Christmas celebration for the folks of Barry’s Bay.
“It’s a signature event at Christmas that everyone looks forward to,” Toni Lavigne-Conway, foundation director, said. “It’s a Christmas tree for us all to enjoy. It adds a Christmas touch to the community.”
The Tree of Lights is a mail appeal, with thousands of flyers sent out to friends and families in the area, in hopes that they will support the campaign and its need to keep our hospital equipped.
The preparation for the campaign begins sometime in early October, or late September.
On November 20, volunteers, otherwise known as elves, could be seen stuffing envelopes, folding flyers and talking amongst themselves.
“A lot of work goes into the mailout, and we are so appreciative of all those that help out,” Lavigne-Conway said. “It’s a real big effort.”
The Tree of Lights has a unique take, with the ability to purchase bulbs in memory of a loved one. It is a wonderful opportunity to not only reflect, but also donate to a magnificent campaign.
“In that way it is a very special tree,” Lavigne-Conway said.
These bulbs are then placed on the Tree of Memory.
This portion of the campaign tends to be very sentimental for those involved.
This year, the bulbs are available for any donation, with the proceeds from The Tree of Lights going towards the Family Helping Family campaign.
Anyone can purchase a single bulb for any size of a donation, and a string of lights can be purchased in memory of someone for $100.
“Bulbs are available for any price,” Lavigne-Conway said, adding that a card also comes with the bulb, and is hung on the tree located in the foyer of the SFMH.
“It is really nice to be able to look at the names of all of those who are being honoured and remembered this Christmas,” she said.
Also this year, the hospital has the assistance of high school students, who will post things on their social media outlets that link to the website where families can donate.
Christmas is on the way, and the hospital has suggested purchasing a lightbulb as a gift for a loved one.
Story continues in the November 28 issue of The Valley Gazette.