What would Christmas be without trees, lights, and stockings? Now you can enjoy all the traditions of the season and help a Low Country charity at the same time. The Friends of Caroline Hospice has turned a local gym into a festival, all in the name of giving. Christmas trees of all sizes, shapes, and personalities are decked out this holiday season for the 14th Annual Festival of Trees.
"It takes a lot of effort and a lot of teamwork to make this happen," said Rita Merrill of the Friends of Caroline Hospice.
Everything in this Christmas wonderland, from the trees to the decorations, is donated. Local businesses and organizations sponsor a tree, then decorate it up for all to enjoy. The proceeds help Caroline Hospice provide terminally ill patients and their families with all the supplies and medical attention they need to stay at home during the last days of their life.
"Mainly, we take care of the patients, give them baths, medication, making sure that their life is comfortable and pleasant at home," said hospice member Linda Hill.
Carolyn Knight is one of 800 hospice volunteers who give of their time to help the nearly 300 terminally ill patients right here in our community. She began volunteering less than a year ago, after she and her husband retired. But for her, this is more than volunteering: it's giving back to an organization that helped make her mother's last wish come true nearly 12 years ago.
"That was her wish, she wanted to come home and we got her home," she recalled.
Not only did Caroline Hospice help fulfill her mother's last wish, but helped the family during that time.
"They were wonderful," said Knight. "They were there to tell us exactly what was happening and kept her very comfortable the whole time."
The Festival of the Trees opens tonight at the Green Street Gym in Beaufort from 7pm to 9pm and will be open through Saturday. Here's the schedule:
- Tuesday 12/10, Wednesday 12/11, Thursday 12/12: 11am to 7pm.
- Friday 12/13, Family Night, 11am to 8pm (Santa 5pm to 8pm).
- Saturday 12/14, 11am to 6 pm
- Tickets: $3 adults, $1 children 12 and under.