Tree of Lights set to shine Satur­day in St. Clements

Lo­cal Christ­mas events start rolling out in area

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - VERON­ICA REINER

THE CHRIST­MAS SPIRIT IS ex­pected to burn brightly Satur­day as the Par­adise and District Lions Club sparks up the Tree of Light in St. Clements for the 11th time.

A pop­u­lar an­nual fundrais­ing event for a va­ri­ety of causes, this year’s cel­e­bra­tion will ben­e­fit the Hos­pice of Wa­ter­loo Re­gion’s new fa­cil­ity in Wa­ter­loo.

“The peo­ple of St. Clements and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity are very gen­er­ous,” said Tree of Light chair and Lions mem­ber Janet Pfaffin­ger. “This year par­tic­u­larly, they were in­ter­ested in giv­ing to a hos­pice – specif­i­cally the one that will be in North Wa­ter­loo. There are dif­fer­ent hos­pices in Guelph and Cam­bridge and the east end of Kitch­ener, but we don’t have one in North Wa­ter­loo. So the com­mu­nity was very re­spon­sive to giv­ing to this char­ity.”

This al­lows the com­mu­nity to get into the gen­er­ous spirit of the hol­i­day sea­son early on. The pro­ceeds have been given to dif­fer­ent projects ev­ery year. Pre­vi­ous char­i­ta­ble ef­forts went to­wards a park pav­il­ion, as well as the Arthri­tis So­ci­ety and the Cysti­nosis Aware­ness and Re­search Ef­fort.

Light­ing up a bulb costs $5, and pur­chasers can ded­i­cate their bulb to hon­our an in­di­vid­ual or in mem­ory of some­one. Ded­i­ca­tions will be read aloud at the cer­e­mony. Al­ter­na­tively, $50 lights up a string of bulbs, and any amount over that will light up the star.

“I can tell you at this point we are in line with what we sold last year for the num­ber of bulbs,” said Pfaffin­ger. “We have a lit­tle over $10,000 raised at this point.”

There will also be a brief speech by lo­cals Bill and Gert Gies, who have pre­vi­ously do­nated $2.5 mil­lion to­ward the con­struc­tion of the Hos­pice of Wa­ter­loo Re­gion Gies Fam­ily Cen­tre. The fa­cil­ity was thus named af­ter the fam­ily for their sub­stan­tial do­na­tion.

Built near RIM Park on Uni­ver­sity Av­enue, the 25,000 square foot fa­cil­ity will fea­ture a 10-bed hos­pice space, ed­u­ca­tion ar­eas, and a pal­lia­tive care clinic. It is ex­pected to be fin­ished in late 2019. Ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Hos­pice of Wa­ter­loo Re­gion, Judy Nairn, will also be in at­ten­dance, and there will be a cheque pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Santa Claus is go­ing to be there,” added Pfaffin­ger. “He’ll be there at 5:45 p.m. – the event be­gins at 6 o’clock, but he comes a bit early be­cause Santa needs to go to a few other places on Satur­day evening.

“He’s a very busy man this time of year.”

There is also mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment by the St. Ja­cobs PS choir and a lo­cal stu­dent who is a par­tic­i­pant with the Glee Club. Cof­fee, hot choco­late, hot ap­ple cider, and cook­ies will be served to at­ten­dees. Pfaffin­ger is en­cour­ag­ing the com­mu­nity to come out to this fam­ily-friendly evening.

“If peo­ple have some ideas of where they would like the money to go next year, they could let us know,” she added. “We might have 10 or 15 re­quests, but we’ll pick a suit­able one.”

The Tree of Lights cer­e­mony is sched­uled for De­cem­ber 1 at 6 p.m. just out­side the St. Clements li­brary. Bulbs can still be pur­chased un­til to­mor­row (No­vem­ber 30) at var­i­ous busi­nesses around town, in­clud­ing Cre­ative Hair Works, My Sis­ters Kitchen, Ex­otic Wings and Pet Things, In Sea­son Home and Gar­den, Kate’s Hair Den, and Styled by Lori.

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