For over 30 years, the Victor-Farmington Rotary Club has sponsored the Giving Tree to provide gifts to the elderly, shut-ins and low-income recipients during the Christmas season.
The tree provides residents an opportunity to participate in making the holiday season a joyous experience for those less fortunate in the community.
Rotarians set up the 2019 tree at Tops Market on state Route 96 in Farmington, where it has been set up since 1989. Joining Rotarians for the decorating of the tree was store manager Patty Ryan.
The tree was decorated with 3-by-5 cards containing generalized requests from residents and clients of the institutions and service organizations partnering with the club. In 2018, the Giving Tree resulted in approximately 1,600 gifts. The tree provides a central location for residents to select a card for someone in the community who might otherwise be forgotten during the holiday season.
After selecting a card from the tree, donors purchase and wrap the gift before delivering it back for collection by Victor-Farmington Rotary. Club members are assigned to visit the tree daily, pick up the donated gifts and place new cards on the tree. Donations go to a central collection point for eventual distribution. This process continues until the week before Christmas.
After the gifts are collected, teams of Rotarians distribute them to the participating institutions.
In addition to the Giving Tree, Rotary members prepare over 100 Christmas stockings stuffed with coloring books, toys, crayons, etc. for low-income children. Some of these stockings are included when the gift deliveries are made; others are delivered to social service agencies and schools.
In club business, Rotarian Solitaire Murphy created her own Rotarian service project, Project Amvets, as a means of showing support and thanks for veterans. Earlier this year, Cmdr. Ed Hemminger from Farmington Amvets Post 332 presented a program to the club on his organization. Murphy, a sales representative for Avon Products, secured shower gel, body lotion, body spray and personal care items for Amvets’ female veterans.