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Glendale club working to save Christmas tree lighting ceremony

File Photo/QNS

UPDATED: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 12:52 p.m.

A 50-year holiday tradition in Glendale may come to an end this year.

For five decades, the Christmas tree that is put up each year at the Glendale Veterans Triangle has brought joy to Glendale residents, young and old alike, with a visit from Santa, gifts for the children and refreshments. But due to a lack of funding, Glendale may be without its biggest holiday attraction this year.

“It had always been funded by the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. They’ve been doing it for 50 years,” said Joe Aiello, president elect of the Glendale Kiwanis. “It’s been an icon in Glendale, especially at the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, the funds are not available due to a lack of funds at the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.”

Former president of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Gatt, said that the chamber had been struggling to gain new members, making it difficult to continue with the Christmas tradition.

“It’s the kind of thing where it can’t be a one-man show. You have to have other people involved. One person can’t do it all,” Gatt said. “I’m so glad Kiwanis picked up on it because it’s such a tradition in the neighborhood. It is just so beautiful. It’s the most wonderful thing. It brings the neighborhood together. It’s something that needs to continue.”

Now the Glendale Kiwanis is taking up the responsibility of raising the funds to keep this holiday tradition alive.

“It was brought to my attention and the Glendale Kiwanis club at one of our board meetings and we decided to take over the task,” Aiello said. “If there wasn’t a Glendale Kiwanis, there wouldn’t be a tree. The tree isn’t just for the children, it’s for everyone and the community.”

Bringing the Christmas tree ceremony back to Glendale this year, Aiello said, would cost over $4,000. Those expenses would includes the tree, ornaments, putting up the lighting, setting up pictures with Santa, gifts for every child who comes and refreshments.

“Last year there had to be 400 children from the community. This year we expect 400-plus,” Aiello said. “We can’t do this on our own. We need the businesses in the community to give back. So what we’re proposing is if business owners want to donate $200 or more, we are putting up a banner displaying their company name as a thank you.”

All donations made to the Glendale Kiwanis, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, are tax deductible.

People, businesses and organizations have already donated to the cause, according to Aiello. “There have been around two dozen donations so far,” he said. “I can’t give an exact dollar amount, but donations have been coming in.”

The celebration is scheduled to take place on Sunday, Dec. 6, should they receive enough donations.

For more information, contact the Glendale Kiwanis Club.

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