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Charity Christmas tree drive sells out in a day

Fundraising venture: Phil Martin, left, George Botelho and Peter Schindel of the Bermuda Xmas Trees programme (File photograph)

A fundraising drive to sell Christmas trees to help children in need has switched gear this year to help people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bermuda Xmas Trees, an annual appeal that donates sales proceeds to programmes set up to assist children, said it would give to family-orientated charities and food banks this year to try and help a wider range of people.

Philip Martin, one of the co-founders, said: “Rather than one child getting something, we’re trying to give money so that it impacts the family so that’s we’re not having loads of hungry kids or people.”

He added: “We give a product that people can use during the holiday season to make it a happy season, but at the same time when they pay for it they know that money is going to go to charity.”

Bermuda Xmas Trees, which has been in operation for ten years, orders a shipping container of Christmas trees, which are sold in December.

Peter Schindel, also a co-founder and the head of Bermuda Xmas Trees’s sponsor Brickyard, said that they doubled their order this year and brought in two shipping containers of trees to ensure they could give more to charity.

The group sold almost their entire stock of trees – about 522 – inside a day.

Mr Martin said that many trees had been pre-ordered in October and the rest of the trees were sold by last Monday.

He added that he did not yet know how much money they had raised this year, but hoped to donate at least $3,000 and up to $5,000.

Mr Martin said that the ultimate goal was to give back to the community and help change lives.

He added: “It’s a way, at least once a year, to give something back.

“It’s really about being a part of Bermuda, trying to help people in need and trying to make Bermuda a better place.”

Mr Martin said: “If we’re able to assist one kid a year and give them a good meal so that they were alert enough in their exams the next day to get a grade that gets them a scholarship, we did something positive.”

He admitted that the six day-long strike at the docks in November delayed sales by a few days, but added that the trees remained in “perfect shape”.

Mr Schindel said that Bermuda Xmas Trees decorated and donated two trees to families who could not afford to buy one this year.

He said: “We took a Christmas tree stand and a string of lights for each tree and we found two families that really, really needed a tree.

“There was about as much excitement as you could imagine in the smile of the lady who picked up the tree.”

Mr Schindel added: “She had three young kids, two of them very young, and those kids were so happy to see that tree because they had it in their heads that they weren’t getting one.

“It just made you feel like you’d done something very right that day.”

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Published December 19, 2020 at 9:25 am (Updated December 19, 2020 at 9:25 am)

Charity Christmas tree drive sells out in a day

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