BALLSTON SPA – The Rotary Club of Ballston Spa received just 166 Christmas trees of the 750 it ordered to raise approximately $18,000 that it shares with local organizations, according to Rotarian Doug Ford.
Rotarians playfully attributed the shortfall to the “Supply Chain Grinch” who, after mercilessly depleting the local charity’s allotment, had the audacity to show up to a news conference at Curtis Lumber calling for a return of the missing trees.
The club was notified of the shortfall in late October, meaning it didn’t have time to look for other trees from other companies, said Ford, who’s also vice president of sales and purchasing for Curtis Lumber.
The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce offered to help with this year’s fundraising effort, asking community members who aren’t able to buy an actual tree from the club to instead make monetary donations that are equivalent to the price of a tree.
Physical trees are being sold for $70 and up at Curtis Lumber, starting on Black Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The sale usually lasts up until Christmas, with Rotarians giving away the last batch of trees the week before Christmas, Ford said.
But this year’s limited supply means the trees will likely be sold in just a couple of weeks, Ford said.
Meantime, the chamber is accepting donations of $25, $55, $85, and any other amount for a supply of “virtual trees.” Donations can be made at https://secure.givelively.org/
“Organizations count on us every year,” Ford said. “I do not look forward to making a phone call saying, this year, we’re not going to be able to help you.”
Ford told reporters this is the first year there’s ever been a problem with the supply of trees. The club has sold Christmas trees to raise money for local organizations since 1972.
Ford said Rotarians would also like to deliver good news about the fundraiser to Kathi Lee, president of the Rotary club who recently suffered a stroke.
State Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston, said: “Christmas trees or no Christmas trees, the mission still needs to go on. So we need to all pitch in and do our part to make sure that these organizations continue to get the support that they deserve and that they really desperately need, year in and year out, to provide services to our community.”
District governor of Rotarians, Bruce McConnollee said: “This club has been around 99 years and they need your help. So please, in any way you can, help them – even if it’s buying a Christmas tree.”
Representatives of organizations that benefit from the Rotary club’s fundraising also pleaded for help.
Sharon D’Agostino, director of student support for Ballston Spa Central School District, said donations from the Rotary club help the district’s backpack giveaway program.
Rev. Derik Roy, rector of the Christ Episcopal Church, represented the local food pantry, which he said was one of the largest in Saratoga County, feeding 300 families, or about 1,000 people per month.
“Quite frankly, it probably wouldn’t be able to do as much as it does without the help of the Rotary,” he said.
Nova Nusskern of Glens Falls portrayed Cindy Lou Who, who asked the Grinch to “please give Ballston Spa Rotary their trees back.”
The Grinch replied that it wasn’t his fault, blaming it on the supply chain.
“Welcome to 2021,” said the Grinch, who was played by Dan Barner of Ballston Spa.
Barner’s character turned a more conciliatory tone, resolving that the community come together to help itself “in the spirit of Christmas.”
Contact reporter Brian Lee at [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: Saratoga County