Tree of Giving a huge success

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 19:00

WOW! The communities of Eagle River and Chugiak have done it again. You are truly amazing. You are the reason I could not leave after retiring from a career in the U.S. Coast Guard in 2008. Please accept my most heartfelt and compassionate thank you.

This year, the Tree of Giving project, hosted by the Sleeping Lady Mountain Lions, was enhanced with your love and support of community, provided hope, inspiration and charity to 73 families and 204 children that would not have had Christmas this year.

My heart was warmed so many times after gathering gifts from the businesses supporting this cause once again. There are so many stories that can be told of children bringing gifts so other children within the community can have a Christmas.

This is the caring and compassion of community that make my heart melt. One child baring gifts expresses a great pride to a team member at Carrs about saving her allowance for six months to provide gifts for a tag on the community tree.

At Jitters, there were many stories of children bringing in gifts with expressions of joy and excitement on their faces was amazing and very humbling. These acts of kindness is why our community is very special.

Everyone heard the call for assistance and responded in the only way Alaskans know — we rolled up our sleeves and pitched in any way possible. You spread the love and spirit of Christmas throughout our community this Yuletide season.

Hundreds of volunteer hours and a record number of businesses who welcomed the trees were not discouraged by making phone calls, picking up the gifts, sorting the gifts or shopping for that one child in need.

Volunteers were not always adults but started with the wonderful children at the Eagle River Boys and Girls Club, who were responsible for preparing the cards, which hung the trees.

A BIG thank you to all the local business that sponsored the trees and made space and time in their establishments.

Thanks to Bear Mountain Leos, Jitters, Carrs, MTA, Credit Union 1, First National Bank Alaska, Wells Fargo, Northrim Bank, Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, Spenard Builders Supply, Dr. Culbert and the staff of Northern Chiropractic, Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union, Smartstyle Family Hair and Fred Meyer for providing gift cards This could not have been possible without you.

I have been truly blessed to be part of such an unbelievable community. Please accept my most heartfelt thank you and merry Christmas from the most generous community, in my opinion, in the world.

Thanks to everyone who came to cook Christmas dinner. A huge success again this year.

If you would like to learn more about being a Lion, call Karen Burns 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. For more information, contact Bonnie at 227-1111.

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