Festival of Trees raises money for Hope 1312 Collective

Dec. 6—A fundraiser for Hope 1312 Collective brought the community together for an important cause and surpassed the nonprofit's fundraising goal during an evening of festive cheer.

The second annual Festival of Trees, held Dec. 1 at Old City Hall in Brunswick, raised money to support Hope 1312 Collective's mission serve children in the welfare system through community partnerships.

The Festival of Trees is a silent auction sale of Christmas trees and wreaths decorated by event supporters. Stacy McLarty, event chair, helped bring the event to Glynn County last year and was excited to see its growth and continued success this year.

"2021 was our first year, and we were able to raise $30,000 through our event sponsors, ticket sales and tree auction," McLarty said. "This year, we chose a larger space, were able to accommodate more guests and had a larger response by the community to decorate the trees."

This year's event raised $40,000 for Hope 1312. The funds will go toward year-round programming, McLarty said, including the Royal Family Kids Camp, a new mentor club and trauma training efforts.

"We are so appreciative of our community and those who were willing to give their time to come and decorate trees and attend the event," McLarty said. "The financial support that was given was amazing, from the donations, sponsorships, ticket sales and auction proceeds."

More than 30 decorated Christmas trees and 11 wreathes were auctioned during the fundraiser.

Guests were welcomed at the event by a pianist, and Doctor Weaver served as DJ. Three Little Birds catered.

"Festival of Trees was gorgeous," said Hope 1312 board member Amy Fritchman. "This event has become an integral night in the life of Hope 1312 Collective. It raises awareness and visibility for the reality of vulnerable children and families. Our prayer is that our community will continue joining together to help children and families become whole and healthy. As a board member, I am beyond thankful to everyone who attended the event and supports this work."

Hope 1312 provided the trees, and an event committee recruited businesses, community members and organizations to sponsor the trees.

"We had trees from The Shops at Redfern, Halyards Restaurant Group, Girl Scouts, Pierce and Parker, the Women of Wesley UMC and Wake Up Coffee, just to name a few," McLarty said. "We hold decorating hours before the event, and tree sponsors bring all of the decor for the trees. We showcase beautiful trees as well as trees full of gift certificates."

Halyards Restaurant Group decorated a tree and included more $3,800 in local business gift cards with the tree for the highest bidder.

Festival of Trees was supported by Pierce and Parker and Prime South Bank, which each donated $5,000, as well as 30 other business and individual event sponsors.

"We had a ton of fun and welcomed approximately 275 guests who supported our cause and entered the child welfare system with us," McLarty said.

Festival of Trees does more than raise money for an important cause McLarty said. It also raises awareness about the need for this work.

"This is only the beginning," she said. "If you would like more information on how to get involved with Hope 1312 or are looking for a way to give back, I urge you to check out Hope1312.org and the work we are doing. We aim to make the Festival of Trees an annual event in the Golden Isles — mark your calendar for early December next year."