Monica Odenwald, front, of Kuu-us Crisis Line Society celebrates with nearly two dozen sponsors from the Alberni Valley who are supporting the annual Festival of Trees in 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Monica Odenwald, front, of Kuu-us Crisis Line Society celebrates with nearly two dozen sponsors from the Alberni Valley who are supporting the annual Festival of Trees in 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Kuu-us Crisis Line Society kicks off 21st annual Festival of Trees

26 Port Alberni businesses will decorate trees on Dec. 9 for festival

The Kuu-us Crisis Line Society will have 26 trees in its annual Festival of Trees this year.

This is the 21st year for the festival of trees, which provides Christmas trees and decorations to families who otherwise would not have any, explains Kuu-us events co-ordinator Monica Odenwald.

More than two dozen sponsors have signed up to decorate trees in three different locations: the Coulson Building on Third Avenue at Mar Street, West Coast General Hospital and the Tseshaht Market. Volunteers and families will be decorating trees on Sunday, Dec. 9 from noon to 2 p.m. Trees will be on display at those locations until Dec. 16.

There is a people’s choice contest for best decorated tree. Voting is done by calling 250-723-2323, ext. 225, and leaving a voicemail.

This year Kuu-us invested in artificial trees for decorating in the festival. Tom’s Trees and the ADSS tree lot will donate real trees for the 26 families chosen by Kuu-us, and Colyn’s Landscaping will help deliver trees on Dec. 16. Families will receive all the decorations from each of the festival trees as well as a Christmas hamper and other goodies collected by the sponsoring businesses.

“The fresh trees dry out so quickly,” Odenwald explained, so Kuu-us decided on the artificial trees for the display part only. “Now we’re delivering fresh trees, right from Tom’s Trees and ADSS, on Dec. 16.”

Families selected to receive a tree, decorations and food hamper are referred to Kuu-us “from a number of difference places,” she said, such as School District 70, Bread of Life and the Salvation Army. “They’re screened so they can’t have been in the festival before, that they don’t already have a tree, and that they’re allowed to have a tree in their apartment.”

The Festival of Trees, and providing Christmas trees and hampers to deserving families, is all part of the programming at Kuu-us, says Odenwald. They have programs for elders, teen nights, free clothing available to those who need it and outreach programs.

“The big part of our crisis program is to be accessible to low income families.”

If you are or know a family in crisis or someone who needs a Christmas hamper to keep food on their table during the holiday, call Kuu-us Crisis Line at 250-723-4050.

editor@albernivalleynews.com