October 20th, 2020

Christmas Tree Gala kicks off holiday season

By Bobinec, Greg on November 19, 2019.

Herald photo by Greg Bobinec Shonna Lamb and Jason VandenHoek from the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation gear up for the 27th annual Christmas Tree Festival Gala and Auction, Wednesday evening at the Enmax Centre. @GBobinecHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald


The Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation is making the city more festive with the launch of its 27th annual Christmas Tree Festival Gala and Auction.

Over the weekend, dozens of people from the community, businesses and organizations decorated Christmas trees which will be sold at the Gala and Auction on Wednesday evening. The group of eclectic trees will be auctioned off and proceeds will go to support the Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation.

“On the weekend we had over 120 people come in and decorate these beautiful trees that are here on display,” says Jason VandenHoek, executive director of Chinook Regional Hospital Foundation. “The trees this year, I think are the most beautiful that we have seen in a really long time, they are always beautiful but they are just exceptional this year. I have no doubt that we have some high numbers in there, but I think we are in for a good auction.”

Community groups and businesses have been planning the look of their trees for months or even since last year and VandenHoek says they are dedicated to creating Christmas trees of people’s dreams.

“As the Hospital Foundation, we are always very fortunate that we have massive community support, and this year with the Christmas Tree Festival is no different,” says VandenHoek. “The beautiful thing about this festival is the giving keeps going. Lots of these trees will find their new homes in the community, organizations, schools and those sorts of things, so it keeps on giving. It raises money for the hospital but it also benefits the community as a whole which is awesome.”

The public had the opportunity to get a closer look at the detail put into the trees, as the foundation hosted a free family night on Monday evening, where families were able to see trees, have a visit from Santa, take part in a variety of children’s activities and enjoy a free family skate at the Enmax Centre.

The money raised through the auction of the trees will go toward the ongoing renovation project of the mental health facility in Chinook Regional Hospital. Over the last couple years, CRH Foundation has been dedicated to funding the project as it nears the final phase of construction.

“The money this year is marked for the renovation of the mental health area,” says VandenHoek. “That is a project that the hospital has been working on for a few years now and we are still excited about that. We have committed over $1 million to the project already and we are in about the third phase of construction, so it is continually going on and it will go on for a couple more years. Our hope is to make it as comfortable as possible for the patients and staff.”

The gala and auction will take place Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., in the Canadian Western Bank Lounge at the Enmax Centre. Tickets for the gala are $80 each with limited tickets remaining. For more information on the event, or what the CRH Foundation supports, visit crhfoundation.ca.

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