Give a Christmas to those in need

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 19:00

As the frosty, crisp air has begun to tingle our noses, the children rush through the park filled with anticipation for a bright Christmas. The bright lights that encircle the large pine tree in Town Square are turned on indicating it is the time of year to be joyous in the Winter Wonderland of Chugiak-Eagle River.

Families and friends gather together in Town Square for the annual Winter Wonderland event. The celebration begins with young carolers singing those Christmas classics. This favorite is closely followed by the tree twinkling with brightly colored lights and that jolly old elf, Santa, and his reindeer dash in, greeting all of the children as they squeal with excitement. This is the time for community, family, friends and the spirit of Christmas.

Local children will beam with Christmas innocence hoping that Santa received their letters hoping their wishes will be fulfilled. Unfortunately, for many, the reality of Christmas is not a priority due to the bills that need to be paid, such as electric, heat or food instead of purchasing gifts for their children. If Santa falters this year, the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions’ Tree of Giving will be there.

The annual Tree of Giving is a community event beginning with the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Wonderland at Town Square, Friday, Dec. 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The chill in the air will be suppressed by the offerings of hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and other food items from the array of vendors.

The Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions’ Tree of Giving project will take many hours to prepare. Approximately 168 children and 75 families residing in the Chugiak-Eagle River area received assistance in 2012.

The Tree of Giving is more than a project — we believe it is truly a miracle as presents, gift wrap, cards and toys are gathered throughout the year.

With Thanksgiving here, a bustle of activity begins with groups of Lions and Leos working together to prepare the cards for the trees. Names of children are obtained from the Municipality of Anchorage and local elementary schools as they hope the magic of Christmas can stay for just one more year.

Once the wishes are heard, they are placed on the cards and hung on the trees at local businesses with the hopes of giving community members will open their hearts and fulfill a wish or two during the holiday season. The children will open their eyes on Christmas morning with awe and wonderment holding on to the happiness that you provided them this year.

Please look for Lions at Town Square and drop off your unwrapped gift or monetary donation. Keep the spirit alive this holiday season and become part of making wishes come true for these special families in need.

A warm, heart-filled “thank you” to everyone in our community for coming together to help their neighbors and share the blessings of the holiday season.

If you would like more information about being a Lion, contact Carolyn Washburn at 242-1129 or visit or

If you know of any teens that would like to join the Bear Mountain Leos, we meet every Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Eagle River Boys and Girls Club.

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