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New surprises planned under (Giving) Trees

Pat Charron of Thompson, Conn., and Anne Marie Craven of New Braintree take a look at all the stunning Christmas trees at last year’s 12th annual Festival of (Giving) Trees’ opening day. (click for larger version)
November 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Organizers of an annual festival are planning to give a gift not typically found under Christmas trees — money to benefit cancer research is under that symbolic wrapping.

The 13th annual Festival of (Giving) Trees is scheduled to kick off Thursday, Dec. 2 and run through Monday, Dec. 5 to benefit three organizations, in their fight against breast cancer. Most of the events will be held at the Notre Dame of the Sacred Heart Parish on Main Street and its LaSalle Reception Center, said organizer Sue Hapgood. A display of decorated Christmas trees at the parish will be the main attraction and runs all four days, but four new features have been added this year.

"It is just an ongoing rotation of giving. I think that is the reason why people are so pleased to help and take part," said Hapgood, who organized the first event 13 years ago. "It is like a magical wonderland of sparkling trees."

While there is no official fundraising goal, Hapgood said she hopes to raise more than the $60,000 it generated last year. The money will go to the Silent Spring Institute and the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC), both of which research and advocate about the links between breast cancer and the environment. Some of the money will also be donated to Harrington Memorial Hospital's new Cancer Center in Southbridge, Hapgood said. The donations are beneficial.

"We are very thankful that The Festival of (Giving) Trees donates to our Center," Director of The Cancer Center Diane Becquart said. "Because of the generosity of the committee that organizes the event, the Cancer Center at Harrington has the ability to help patients who are in need of assistance with prescription co-pays or other urgent needs."

The new offerings will add to the festival's tradition features. Included in the new activities — Christmas trees will be sold for $1 with buyers placing non-perishable food items under them, she said. The money will be given to local food pantries.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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