Christmas comes early for local organizations

December 3, 2011 by

The Bent Wind Ensemble performs Saturday afternoon as visitors chat and view the 11 trees that make up Christmas Tree Lane. The silent auction was a special part of the annual Motherhouse Open House this year.

Visitors toured the Nazareth Motherhouse Saturday afternoon — and paid special attention to the 11 decorated trees that lined both walls of the auditorium.

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The brightly decorated exhibits made up Christmas Tree Lane, and by the end of the afternoon each was going home with the highest bidder in the silent auction that began Friday evening. The Sisters of St. Joseph added the new Christmas Tree Lane this year as a way of helping local nonprofit organizations raise much-needed funds in a year that has been hard on both the groups and the people they serve.

Local organizations were invited to decorate a Christmas tree for the event, and 11 groups accepted the invitation. The trees were provided free to the organizations, thanks to a Seize the Moment grant from the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

The groups then sold tickets to a special preview party Friday evening, and placed donation boxes by their tree. Then visitors bid on the trees, with the high bidders announced at 4 this afternoon. The winning bids ranged from $100 up to $210. Each organization will keep all its proceeds from the ticket sales, donation boxes and the auction.

As visitors were checking out the trees, they were also entertained by a number of local musicians, including Irene Brown, Patrick Sieben, Jean Hamel and the great Society Singers from Cloud County Community College. The sisters provided refreshments as well, and offered tours of the historic Motherhouse, which was built in 1902 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The sisters have hosted a Christmas Open House for a number of years, but their development office decided this year to organize Christmas Tree Lane as a way to help struggling local nonprofit groups, said development director Sister jean Rosemarynoski. Many government grants and other funds have been cut, she said, at a time when local people need the help more than ever.

The nonprofit organizations decorating trees were:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cloud, Mitchell and Republic Counties
  • Cloud County Health Center
  • Cloud County Health Center Auxiliary
  • Cloud County Community Resource Center
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas (DVACK)
  • Helping Hands
  • National Orphan Train Complex
  • NCK Honor Flight
  • NCK Paws
  • OCCK Inc.

For more photos from the Friday evening preview party, CLICK HERE.

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