POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Mason County Toys for Kids Association is looking for participation in its Sixth Annual “Light of Christmas” Tree Project this year.
Each year, schools, businesses, churches, organizations, individuals, groups and clubs decorate “themed” Christmas trees, which are placed along the sidewalk in Gunn Park (near the Mothman statue).
Toys for Kids Association Organizer, Brandy Barkey Sweeney, created the “Light of Christmas” event six years ago.
“Six years ago, I had made a promise that I was going to start this project in Point Pleasant if I lived to see another Christmas after my heart transplant,” Sweeney said. “My husband, Brandon Sweeney, and I came up with the ‘Light of Christmas’ because we believe Jesus is ‘the light’ and we want people to know of His goodness especially at Christmas. Plus this was a way to make our little town look like a Hallmark movie.”
In typical years, the Toys for Kids Association holds events throughout the year to raise funds. Sweeney said the association has not held any fundraisers this year due to the pandemic.
“The Battle Days pageant and annual boot drive are our biggest fundraisers so we hope to see more participation in this fundraiser this year,” Sweeney said.
To register for the “Light of Christmas” Tree Project, forms can be obtained on Sweeney’s Facebook page or contacting Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 593-6055.
Forms must be returned to Sweeney by Nov. 24. After that date, Sweeney will contact participants with a time and date they can set up their trees.
“This year we are scheduling decoration times to limit the number of people in the park at one time,” Sweeney said.
Trees are included in the cost of $75 to participate in the project. Sweeney said if she finds a place with trees for a cheaper price, part of the cost will be refunded.
Participants are responsible for their own LED lights, supplying their own outdoor extension cord, securing decorations to the tree and attaching a sign stating their purpose or organization.
Trees are often decorated with typical Christmas and holiday decorations, but some have themes to represent the organization, a memory of a loved one or awareness themes.
“This year more than ever, we need some extra Christmas cheer so I encourage more businesses, individuals, sports teams, organizations, and churches to participate,” Sweeney said.
A plaque will be given for the people’s choice award. Voting and information will be on Facebook.
The Toys for Kids Association is also collecting toys in the annual toy drive, but this year, sign-ups to receive toys will be online for children up to 16 years old. The deadline is Dec. 5 and participants can not be getting assistance from another organization, church or school, Sweeney said.
Visit the Mason County Toys of Kids Facebook page.
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Pictured are trees from a previous “Light of Christmas” display in Gunn Park. (OVP File Photo)
Organizers hope Gunn Park will be filled with trees once more as part of the “Light of Christmas” Tree Project. (OVP File Photo)
Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.