Tree of Lights end-of-year fundraising push is on now

The beautifully lit Tree of Lights shines brightly outside Manitoulin Centennial Manor thanks to many generous donations. photo by Robin Burridge

MANITOULIN—While the Tree of Lights fundraiser for the Manitoulin Centennial Manor is technically available all year, with autumn upon us it’s time for that final push to recognize those who are near and dear to us while donating money to a worthy cause, all with the goal of lighting up the Christmas tree that stands outside the Manor.

“This is the fourth year for the Tree of Lights,” explained Manor fundraising chair and board member Wendy Gauthier, “and we’re into our Christmas push.” In its three years, the Tree of Lights has raised $36,000 for the Manor.

This year, like last, the Tree of Lights is seeking funds toward the ongoing ‘Another Step Forward’ campaign that seeks to replace all the carpet in the Manor with non-slip flooring.

So far that campaign has neared $10,000 of its $100,000 goal. By the end of this year, Ms. Gauthier hopes to raise $20,000 with the Tree of Lights campaign.

A light on the tree costs just $10 and can be done in memory of a loved one or to recognize a special person. This year, the Manor fundraising group is offering sponsorship levels for lights in increments of $100, or bronze, $200, or silver, $500, gold sponsorship, or $1,000, or platinum sponsorship. Ms. Gauthier said she hopes that this way, businesses and organizations may think about donating to the worthy cause.

Each year there is also a friendly competition for the person/business/organization who donated the most to the Tree of Lights as they will have the honour of having the coveted star in their name. Last year that donor was Manitoulin Transport with its $2,000 gift.

“The Manor is important not only on a personal level for the care of its residents, but it’s also an important employer on Manitoulin,” she said. “It’s a valuable community resource on many levels.”

The Tree of Lights is very much “the residents’ tree” and they look forward to watching it get lit up, strand by strand, each Christmas season. (The special tree is placed outside, within sight of the Manor dining room, following Remembrance Day.)

Each $10 donation will sponsor the listing of the name of the person it’s in honour of in the December 19 edition of The Expositor, while all the sponsorship donations will have their names listed too.

“Flooring isn’t sexy,” Ms. Gauthier admits, noting that the Another Step Forward campaign has been more sluggish than the patient ceiling lift or call bell system campaigns.

While new flooring might not be a glamorous endeavour, it’s incredibly important to the well-being of the residents. As many of the Manor’s clients require the use of mobility aids, carpet can mean it’s easier to trip and a lot harder to propel oneself in a wheelchair and “will add to the residents’ independence and feeling of well-being,” Ms. Gauthier added.

New flooring has also been cited as the single most important upgrade the long-term care facility will need.

“It also keeps the Manor board from going to the municipalities and this cost coming out of the taxpayers’ pockets,” Ms. Gauthier added.

Donation forms for the Tree of Lights can be found at businesses across Manitoulin, including The Expositor Office, as well as all Island municipal offices, libraries and BMO branches. The form can also be downloaded at manitoulincentennial.ca.