36th annual Festival of Trees surpasses $80,000 goal

It took hundreds of hours of combined volunteer and administrative work in the final week of preparation alone.
 But when it was over, the 36th annual Festival of Trees had become one of the most successful in the Weiser Memorial Hospital Foundation’s fundraising history.
 By 10:30 p.m. on the night of the Gala, held at the Vendome on Wednesday, Nov. 16, the event had already exceeded its $80,000 goal, crushing last year’s mark of a little over $70,000. On Monday of this week, the total had climbed to $82,892, with the live auction still running. Bidding is open until 9 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 27 and there are still deposits from various sales purchases that need to be made, which will further increase the total.
 “Everything was more this year,” said WMHF Executive Director Kimberly Burgess. “We had more sponsorships, more volunteers, more community involvement, and we raised more funds, so this year’s event was one of the top grossing events in the history of the foundation.”
 It means the foundation will have more funds to fulfill grants and requests for hospital equipment, which in turn serves the community in kind. 
 Since its inception, the Festival of Trees has now raised well over $682,000 that has helped improve medical care at Weiser Memorial Hospital. 
 Hospital CEO, Steven Hale, commended Burgess and her staff, as well as the many volunteers and other community members for their efforts in making the event such a success.
 “This is our 36th annual event and we’ve seen it grow more and more each year,” he said, addressing over 275 attendees at Wednesday’s Gala. “We had 23 trees this year and 109 registered decorators. We appreciate the meticulous planning that has gone into this. There was a lot of hard work put in by these individuals.”
 The lavishly decorated trees, which were auctioned for hundreds and even thousands of dollars, were delivered to winning bidders at their homes on Saturday, Nov. 19. The early event date this year allowed winners to set up their trees before Thanksgiving. 
 Items from winning bids through the silent auction will be available for pickup at the Weiser Memorial Hospital Office Complex, located off Liberty Street between State and E. First streets, on Wednesday, Nov. 30 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
 Included in the auction was an Idaho Steelheads hockey suite for 16 people and 20 hours of labor provided by Weiser Fire District firefighters.


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