It’s the giving season and the Holiday Kids’ Tree symbolizes it in the best way.
Each year, the Association of Washington Business (AWB) hosts the Holiday Kids’ Tree lighting marking the end of their Holiday Kids’ Tree Project of that year. The project collects donations and funds to be given to children and families in need in rural areas. According to the AWB website, more than $390,000 in cash donations and thousands of gifts since the project started in 1989. This year, 18 fire districts in 9 counties will receive $1,000.
The counties receiving these funds are Chelan, Grant, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Okanogan, Spokane, Thurston and Walla Walla. The funds given to these districts are used to buy food and toys for children and families in need.
On Friday, December 1st, Secretary Wyman lit the Holiday Kids’ Tree with the help of Washington National Guard Company Commander and 1st Lieutenant Shawnta M. DiFalco and her family.
First Lieutenant DiFalco is commander of the 792nd Chemical Company, 420th Chemical Battalion, in Grandview, WA. She was one of the first Washington State National Guardsmen to mobilize in support of the wildfire disaster in the Jolly Mountain and Norse Peak fires. She is a volunteer fire fighter for the Grandview Fire Department and director of special education for the Grandview School District.
The tree itself is decorated with 7,000 new LED lights, traditional decorations, and stuffed animals following the “Friends of the Forest” theme. Once the tree is taken down the stuffed animals will be wrapped along with a book and distributed at Children’s Hospitals around the area. The tree was delivered to the Legislative Building on November 28th and decorated with the help of the Department of Enterprise Services staff.
For over 60 years a holiday tree has been a steady tradition in the Capitol rotunda, and for the past 29 years the Holiday Kids’ Tree has been lighting up the building throughout the holidays. The Holiday Kids’ Tree Project has been bringing the spirit of the season to those who are in need of it the most.