Tree fundraiser expected to thrive despite pandemic

The Williamstown Fire Company tree lot at 555 South Main Street, in the municipal parking lot.

The Williamstown Fire Department’s annual Christmas tree fundraiser is on, and customers are encouraged to get one quick.

The annual sale has been running for over 40 years and is one of the largest and most successful fundraisers for the department. Although the tradition might look a little different this year, the department is grateful to continue providing trees for the community.

“We normally sell out within the first two to three weeks, so we always encourage everyone to come early,” said Cody Miller, chair of the Christmas tree committee. 

“We have been blessed with a community that supports us and this fundraiser,” noted Nancy Perez, fire company vice president. “I have enjoyed watching the community come back year after year, and you can almost watch their kids grow up and they are bringing their own kids now.”

The fundraiser allows the department to donate to local organizations and support its volunteers. 

“We do things with fire prevention and we do a banquet for our members every year,” Miller said. “We do things as well to support our members and show our appreciation for what they do throughout the year.” 

“This fundraiser would fund our annual Christmas party, which is run by the department for its members who have children or grandchildren under 10,  and we provide gifts for those children,” said fire company President Andrew Disque.

“Obviously this year, it is going to look a little bit different because we can’t have the party in the building,” he added. “But we will still be delivering the gifts to the children’s houses.”

The department also uses the tree fundraiser to fund scholarships at the high school, among other beneficiaries. This year, the company where the department purchases its trees has decided to raise prices for the first time in years. Despite that, department tree prices will not increase. 

“We were debating on raising our prices this year,” Miller explained. “For the past few years, we have not raised our prices for trees, and now more than ever, because families are struggling, we didn’t want to push that back onto the families.

The department has purchased 520 trees this year from Blue Mountain Trees. All are Douglas Firs and were cut down on Thanksgiving. Prices range from 6-foot trees at $35 to 8-foot ones around $55.

“The money goes to a good cause, and you really can’t find a cheaper tree price around,” Miller said. 

The department will be open for sales Monday through Friday, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m to 9 p.m.

“It’s fun for us,” Miller acknowledged. “We want to encourage everyone who wants to come and buy trees to wear a mask and practice social distancing, because we want to make sure we are being as safe as possible.”

Despite the pandemic, Miller and the fire company are optimistic about the annual sell-out of trees. And even though the department might lose out on funds because of the tree-price increase, members are positive community donations through sales will continue. 

“We make a good deal of money off the tree sales, so there is really no reason to gouge people to try to increase that profit,” Disque offered. “This is not the year to do that.” 

“As far as we’re concerned, I don’t see COVID having an effect on this,  because we have a base of supporters that come out and support us every single year,” Miller said. “We just want to thank the public, because they are our biggest supporters and we are going to sell out like we do every single year.

“And we are thankful for that.”

Trees can be purchased behind the firehouse at 555 South Main Street, in the municipal parking lot.