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Providence Christmas Forest raises $550K

December 13, 2012
Seuss Tree at HOCM

The 25th annual Christmas Forest raised over $550,000 which benefits the mission of Providence to provide health care to all, with special concern for the poor and vulnerable. During the five-day event, over 4,500 visitors came during public viewing to see the trees and wreaths which were decorated by dedicated volunteers, many who have been involved for over 20 years. During public viewing, 25 different artistic groups from the community delighted attendees including the Chinook Middle School Band, and the Capital Concert Band. It is estimated that over 300 volunteers participated, contributing more than 10,000 hours to make the Forest a reality.

The Forest included 27 trees, 13 wreaths, and other specialty items which were auctioned off at the Gala Auction and Dinner, held Friday, November 30. The gala raised $375,000 alone, including $180,000 for the Providence Sexual Assault Clinic and Child Maltreatment Center. At the Gala, Dr. Jim Reus, Emeritus Foundation Board Member and surgeon at Surgical Associates, spoke from the heart, reminding those attending, “These are our children, this is our community, and they are all our responsibility.” The Sexual Assault Clinic provides care to over 300 children and their families each year who have been affected by sexual abuse, playing an important role in the community’s overall response to sexual abuse, and helps victims and their families begin the long journey toward healing. 

One-third of the trees and wreaths were donated back to the community. Larry Brooke, Providence St. Peter Foundation Board Treasurer, and volunteer coordinator for tree delivery, says, “Not everyone realizes that so many of these trees end up back in the community for people that are being served during difficult times in their lives.” This year, trees can be seen in places such as the Hands On Children’s Museum, Group Health Olympia Medical Center, SafePlace, and multiple locations at St. Peter Hospital including the lobby, Oncology Center in Lacey, Chemical Dependency, new Critical Care Unit, and other Providence locations.    According to Brooke, “There were several children at SafePlace when we delivered the tree, and they may not otherwise have had a Christmas tree this year. It was really special to see their joy; they followed us down the hall like Santa was coming through with his sleigh!”

The Raffle Tree, Polar Bear Express, was won by Olympia resident Thelma Geuin. Geuin says, “Winning the tree is absolutely the most amazing thing that has happened to me in a long time! I sit and look at it in the evenings and just marvel at how magical it is.”  The tree, designed by Victoria Schmidt, was delivered to Thelma’s home on December 6. 

Dr. Dan Davidson, Providence St. Peter Foundation Board President, thanked the co-chairs of Christmas Forest, Dr. Jay and Carla Rudd, saying, “Jay and Carla have chaired the event for three years and we are so grateful for the innovation they have brought to this event, as well as their dedication to Providence, its mission, and the community.”