Victoria’s Festival of Trees fundraiser is struggling to fill spots

Victoria's Festival of Trees fundraiser is struggling to fill spots
WatchWith some local businesses struggling due to COVID, Victoria's Festival of Trees fundraiser is having trouble filling spots. Tess van Straaten reports.

The Festival of Trees was one of the few holidays events on Vancouver Island that was able to go ahead last year.

This year, the iconic event is not only taking place but celebrating its 30th anniversary.

“I love this event,” says Festival of Trees chair Carly Russell-Huntley. “It brings all the festivity and Christmas feel and it’s a tradition for a lot of families in town.”

But with just a month to go before the Nov. 18 launch, organizers are struggling to fill all the spots, which start at $1,000, and raise money for the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“Sponsorship is down this year, it’s been down the last couple years because of COVID, and that’s something not only B.C. Children’s Hospital is seeing but other charities are seeing as well,” says Shaun Cerisano of the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.

There’s room for 80 creatively decorated trees at the Bay Centre. But so far, only 37 spots have been filled.

“Things definitely aren’t where we expect them to be right now,” Russell-Huntley says. “But with a month to go, we still feel we can get a lot more businesses on board to support this important charity.”

B.C. Children’s Hospital has the largest catchment area of any hospital in North America.

It treats children from all of the province and the Yukon, including  thousands of kids from Vancouver Island every year.

“Here on Vancouver Island, on average, 3,600 kids go to B.C. Children’s Hospital every year,” Cerisano  explains. “If you break that down even further, that’s close to 10 kids a day. That’s 10 kids a day that need to go to B.C. Children’s to get treatment.”

Organizers are now appealing to businesses, in the hopes that more will step up to help make the holidays a little brighter.

“We completely understand that a lot of businesses don’t have the capability of being a tree sponsor this year, but we do want to put the message out to businesses who have done well during this difficult time,” Russell-Huntley says.

If you’d like to sponsor a tree, click on this link.

[email protected]

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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