If you are tired and your dried-out Christmas tree makes you sad after the holidays, cheer up.
In some coastal communities, your tree can be used to chip in to a charity, and you can even watch firefighters send it through a giant chipper in the process.
Tree chipping is one of several annual fundraisers hosted by B.C. fire departments for the Burn Fund, a charitable organization that among other achievements has “supported burn units and burn treatment centres across B.C.”.
Thousands of people are expected to drop off their trees on Saturday, January 7 for the Campbell River Fire Rescue event, said coordinator Bonnie Logan, a Campbell River fire dispatcher. “Usually we raise $2,500 to $4,000 for the Burn Fund,” she told West Coast Now.
This year, the tree donations will contribute to a $20,000 major Burn Fund donation this May, on top of funds raised by sports pools, a salmon barbeque, and Campbell River’s annual Pumpkin Smash.
No, the Pumpkin Smash is not a cocktail. After each Halloween in Campbell River, city residents donate money to watch their pumpkins being dropped onto pavement from the top of a 100-foot fire truck ladder. “It’s super fun!” said Logan, adding that fire volunteers shovel the “pumpkin guts” and send them to a composting facility.
Kristin Bibbs, Burn Fund’s development manager, noted the biggest annual fundraiser is Bright Nights at Stanley Park in Vancouver, staffed each December by volunteers from fire departments from all over the province.
This year B.C.’s small fire departments brought in $187,000 to Bright Nights, which raised more than $300,000 overall.
“The support from the island is incredible, especially because they’re all small fire locals,” said Bibbs.
Burn Fund events are “a way to help out people who’ve gone through unfortunate experiences,” says Campbell River dispatcher Jared MacNeill, who is one of the six volunteers who stepped up to volunteer at the city’s Sportsplex for the tree chipping event.