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Deck the house with support for others

Proceeds from Christmas trees sales donated to worthy causes

Dec. 12, 2012

For the sixth year, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center is branching out to help others through Christmas Trees for Charity. By purchasing a tree at select area lots you are helping those that help others. This year, the organization is donating $1,000 each to Lake Area Free Clinic and the American Red Cross.

Organizer and Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center owner Terry Van Lare is hoping you consider purchasing your live tree from Christmas Trees for Charity this year to help make the 2012 effort a success. Donations are presented to charities from the year prior, next year's recipients have not yet been decided, but the trend will continue to support local charitable organizations, Van Lare said.

"We've got lots of beautiful trees still available with sales supporting great causes," said Van Lare on Wednesday.

The Lake Area Free Clinic in Oconomowoc provides medical attention and practical information for individuals who lack health insurance and whose income is at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Executive Director Mary Reich said patient visits from January through May 2012 were up 24 percent over 2011 and sees a continuing need for medical services for those who are uninsured and unable to pay.

The American Red Cross in Southeastern Wisconsin exists to provide critical services to more than 2 million people in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Dodge, Ozaukee, Washington and Walworth counties. The Red Cross quickly responds to local tragedies to offer support including the July 1 fire in downtown Oconomowoc and to help after a fire destroyed a family's home in Oconomowoc on Nov. 8.

Since its inception the fundraiser has sold more than 4,000 Christmas trees and donated $10,000 to local charities, said Van Lare.

Past beneficiaries have said the generosity of the charity helps keep the community outreach organizations going. A staunch community supporter himself, Lake Country Rotarian Van Lare said he enjoys donating to organizations that share his same views on helping the community. Past recipients include Lake Country Caring, which helps more than 1,200 individuals in the Lake Country area in need of basic items such as clothing and toiletries. Trees for charity has also donated to Shorehaven's Life Enrichment Center, which provides activities and outreach to the senior population.

The giving doesn't stop there either. When you buy a Christmas tree, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Lake Country Toys for Kids Toy Drive, In the past five years, Christmas Trees for Charity has donated more than $10,000 to the cause. You can also bring something to put under the tree of someone in need that also goes toward the Toys for Kids effort.

"The toys we collect are for children in need around Lake Country and surrounding areas," Van Lare said.

Lake Country Toys for Kids is a 501(c)(3) organization, "and we are able to accept financial donations from local businesses as well," he said. The donations are used to go shopping for specific gifts for families in need.

How to donate

The sixth annual Christmas Trees for Charity lots are at the Kmart parking lot in Oconomowoc, 1450 Summit Ave., Piggly Wiggly on Highway P and at Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center on Highway K.

You can purchase trees at any of the lots and proceeds will go toward Trees for Charity or make a donation or drop off new toys for Lake Country Toys for Kids.

Call Oconomowoc Landscape at (262) 567-1777 or visit for more information.

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