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This Year's Jaycees Christmas Tree Sale May Be the Last

Organizer hopes another civic-minded group takes over next year.

Chatham Jaycees director Bill Heap stacks trees for the Jaycees annual Christmas Tree Sale. Credit: Submitted photo
Chatham Jaycees director Bill Heap stacks trees for the Jaycees annual Christmas Tree Sale. Credit: Submitted photo

The Chatham Jaycees once again are selling Christmas trees at the corner of Main Street and Brooklake Road in Chatham, but it might be the Jaycees last year running the sale.

The volunteer who has organized the sale in recent years hopes another civic-minded group takes over the sale next year, which the Jaycees have held each holiday season for the past 46 years.

Finding adult volunteers has been the Jaycees main issue.

Some of the proceeds have gone to Chatham Borough, with the donations earmarked for Chatham’s Shade Tree Commission. The group donated $2,500 to Chatham Borough each of the last two years.

“I’m happy that we’re doing this again but we’re starting to run out of steam,” Bill Heap, Chatham Jaycees director and the man most responsible for the tree sale’s success in recent years, said in a news release.

The biggest challenge is recruiting volunteers to staff the sale site itself, as people have work, family and social obligations, the news release said.

“We have plenty of high school kids willing to help out for credit but we need adults to supervise them,” said Heap. “I twist arms a little bit.”

 Heap is again in charge of all the setup work, ordering premium-grade trees (Douglas furs and balsams) and their delivery from tree farms in Pennsylvania and Quebec, while coordinating volunteers to sell them on weeknights (6 p.m. to 10 p.m.) and weekends.

Heap still finds it all rewarding, but expressed concern that this year’s sale may be the Jaycees’ last.

“We need someone else to run things, to take charge,” he said, adding that if another civic-minded group steps up for 2014, he would be still be available to help out in some way. “If the sale does go away after this year, it’s not likely to come back."

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