The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 12, 2012

Auction day drawing near for United Way’s Wonderland of Trees

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — Just a few days remain until 54 beautifully decorated Christmas trees will be auctioned to raise money for the United Way of Southern West Virginia.

A final preview of the Wonderland of Trees will be given at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Lewis Automotive, where the event was hosted this year. The auction will begin at 6 p.m.

Executive director Margaret O’Neal said a lot of new businesses and organizations sponsored trees this year and many of the trees come with some added bonuses.

For example, one tree has NASCAR tickets and a $1,000 Richard Petty Driving Experience, while another tree has $500 worth of Mary Kay products.

O’Neal said specific details about each tree and its treasures will be announced at the auction.

Bids start at $125, the same amount that the sponsors donated to adopt a tree.

“We have such beautiful trees, and the decorators have invested so much money in the ornaments. We just hope people will come out and support the auction.”

She said even if you don’t need a tree at your own home or business, there are many families and nonprofit organizations that would greatly appreciate a tree.

Trees won at the auction can either be kept or donated to someone in need of a Christmas tree.

O’Neal said the event raised a little over $40,000 last year and she hopes to exceed that amount this year.

“We would love to see $45,000 this year.”

Even if bidding on a tree isn’t an option, you can still show your support by making a $1 donation and voting for your favorite tree.

Each $1 donation registers you to win a 40-inch television, which will be given away the night of the auction.

Votes can be cast at Lewis Automotive or online at www.wonderlandoftrees.org. Photos of all the trees are also available online.

The current fan favorite is the coal-themed tree — “Keeping the Christmas Lights On.”

There is no charge to view the Wonderland of Trees, and O’Neal said everyone is invited to come in, take a look, and even get some ideas for your own trees.

“If you’d like to donate, we would certainly appreciate that. Our goal this year is $500,000. Every dime of the proceeds from this event will go toward helping us meet that goal. The reason we need to meet that goal is because we support 32 agencies across southern West Virginia in five counties. We want to make sure next year when they need that money that we have it.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com