Baby Fold Board President Sally Tucker unveiled the fundraising total Tuesday evening. (Photo By Paul Morello/WJBC)
By Paul Morello
NORMAL - A silent auction of bedecked Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, celebrity items and other holiday-themed goodies helped raise $152,000 for the Baby Fold at this year's Festival of Trees.
The annual event at U.S. Cellular Coliseum was slightly short of its "stretch" goal of $185,000, but spokeswoman Julie Payne said Tuesday the funds will go a long way towards helping the organization year-round.
"This year, what's really important to us is supporting our Healthy Start program, our foster care program, some of our educational programs through the schools. All of those have needs through the year and this helped us meet those needs," she said.
The fundraising total was announced Tuesday evening. Last year the fundraiser netted $162,000.
"We saw an increase in attendance a little bit this year, but we also had some increases in costs," Payne said. "So that brought our total down a little bit."
Payne said over 8,000 visitors attended the Festival of Trees from Nov. 9-11.
The theme for next year's event will be "My Christmas Story."
"Things we love to do at the Festival is help people understand what the story of the Baby Fold is," Payne said. "This will be our twentieth anniversary for the Festival and we want to tell that story with a little of our history."
Paul Morello can be reached at email@example.com.