By MEGAN MOSELEY
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Hilo’s Y’s Men and Women Service Club Christmas tree program has deep roots.
The YMCA service group launched its 64th annual Christmas Tree Fundraiser as it celebrates its 75th year as an organization. Tree sales began Wednesday at the Ben Franklin Craft Store parking lot in downtown Hilo.
Money from this year’s fundraiser will go directly back into the YMCA and its youth programs.
There are three trees to choose from, including a Noble Fir, Grand Fir and a Kirk Elf tree. Although prices range from $30-$200 per tree, Fred Yamashiro, CEO of the Island Hawaii YMCA, said it is money well spent.
“Think about it, it’s cheaper to support a child and turn them into a good citizen compared to them being incarcerated as an adult,” he said.
Yamashiro said sales ranged from $10,000-$15,000 in the past, which helped provide scholarship funds for local keiki wanting to participate in the YMCA’s various after-school programs that aim to enhance youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Some programs include an after-school preschool known as Y-Tots Preschool, where kumus assist children in the development of classroom socialization and education; a Teen Club YMCA program for sixth- to 12th-graders that promotes leadership activities, fitness, yoga, cooking and more; as well as the A+/After-School Program where participants learn the YMCA’s values of honesty, caring, respect and responsibility through character development.
Bobby Stivers-Apiki, president of the Y’s Men and Women Service Club, said the fundraiser helps keep the programs and the club’s mission alive.
“Our purpose is to bridge peace and promote an international understanding among all people,” he said.
Email Megan Moseley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noble Fir: Naturally symmetrical in shape with well-spaced, sturdy branches that are perfect for displaying ornaments. Heights range from 4 feet to 10 feet.
Grand Fir: Have a rich, woodsy fragrance with smooth, flexible needles up to 1-1.5 inches in length. Very dense and naturally symmetrical. Heights range from 4 feet to 10 feet tall.
Kirk Elf Tree: Hand sheared to create a full, symmetrically tapered appearance. Comes with a specially fitted watering bowl. Height is 3 feet.
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
For questions, call 938-2694.