The large lot on the corner of Elm and Maple Streets in Westfield was once again a busy thoroughfare on Sunday morning, December 3th, as 15 Master Gardeners helped unload a delivery of Christmas trees for the Westfield Y’s Men’s Club. The trees were being delivered for the Y’s Men’s ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH SALE, which opened right after Thanksgiving and runs through Sunday, December 23rd. The 15 men and women arrived at 8am, checked in with Y’s Man Bill Rugg, then got right down to work. Before 10am, they, with volunteer Y’s Men, had carried 470 trees. Master Gardeners Richard Leister and T.J. Karns were on hand to lend moral support and take photos.
Ms. Karns, who chairs both the Grants and Publicity Committees for the Master Gardeners of Union County, started this annual tree unloading event in 2007 as a way to give back to the Y’s Men for generous grants. She advises that "both our Master Gardeners and Y’s Men are volunteer groups whose mission is community service. The Y’s Men sell Christmas trees, wreaths, and the easiest, sturdiest tree stand ever (!) to raise money for charity. Since their start-up in 1953, they have given more than $2M to local non-profits and charitable groups, including the MGs.”
“Likewise,” says Karns, “we Master Gardeners raise food to feed the hungry in Union County. Since 2002, we have donated nearly 20,000 lbs. of hardy produce to local soup kitchens and food banks. We also raise flowers for local cancer centers and hospitals, to which we have donated more than 18,000 flowers and greens since 2007. When it comes to giving back and volunteering, our’s is a ‘Circle of Helping Hands’ approach to community service. That’s why we help the Y’s Men unload their trees.”
Hours for the Y’s Men’s ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH SALE are: Monday through Friday, 4 to-9pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 6pm.
All trees are given a fresh cut to take water. Branches are trimmed at customer request, prior to drilling a hole in the trunk for the tree stand. The tree is then baled and loaded on the customer’s vehicle. “It’s a lot of heavy work,” says Yard Boss Rugg, “so we appreciate volunteers from high schools and local groups like the Master Gardeners."
For more information on the Westfield Y’s Men’s Club and their ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH SALE, contact Brian Duggan, 908-232-6930.
To become a Master Gardener, contact Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield at (908) 654-9854, or visit mastergardeners-uc.org/ on the Web.