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SHARING THE HOLIDAY Eventide starts annual tree giveaway celebration

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From left, Loretta Lunestad, Stephanie Harmon, 8, and JoAnn Harmon, 13, look at one of 10 Christmas trees at Eventide Jamestown Wednesday that were sponsored by area businesses and agencies to be given away to families in Jamestown. This tree was sponsored by Community Action Region VI and decorated by Eventide staff. Tom LaVenture / The Sun2 / 2

Eventide Jamestown invited the community to share in its first holiday tree celebration on Wednesday, just prior to giving out 10 Christmas trees away to area families.

The effort started a few months ago to recruit area businesses and community to sponsor the purchase and decoration of 10 trees, said Doug Panchot, executive director of Eventide Jamestown. Eventide sponsored two of the trees.

“It’s been a great outpouring and we are looking forward to doing this again next year,” Panchot said.

The work started months ago with the goal of helping families in need during the holiday season, he said. The families receiving the trees will remain anonymous and were referred through North Dakota Community Action Partnership Region VI in Jamestown, he said.

“We want to be part of the community and to partner with the other businesses that we work with to help make the community a better place,” Panchot said. “It’s also a way for people to come in and see what we are doing here at Eventide and enjoy the start of the Christmas season.”

Robin Gumke, Eventide human resources manager, said the staff and residents supported the idea and so did the businesses and community that they reached out to for sponsorships or donated decorations.

The trees are artificial so that they can be used again by the family for future Christmases, she said. It took time and work to assemble and decorate them but it was in a festive atmosphere, she said. Then the community was invited to see the result.

“That is why we named it ‘sharing the holidays,’” Gumke said.

Cheryl McIntyre, choir director at Jamestown High School, brought several of her students who sang traditional holiday carols along with more contemporary favorites, “Winter Wonderland,” “Still, Still, Still,” and “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.”

Santa Claus also paid a visit to visit with the visiting children and the residents of Eventide.

The tree sponsors included Cavendish Farms, I3G Media, Thrifty White Pharmacy, Better Homes Property Management, LLC, TENA, Otter Tail Power Co., Christianson’s Business Furniture, Community Action Region VI and Eventide Jamestown. The sponsors also decorated the trees with additional support from The Medicine Shoppe, R.M. Stoudt, Two Rivers Printing, staff and residents of Eventide, Victory Lutheran Church Youth Group and the Melvin Peterson family.

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