Christmas tree sale aims to raise hundreds of thousands for child abuse victims

Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 6:16 PM CST

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - For the second year, Silo Square is hosting a live Christmas tree sale as part of a nationwide effort to help children around the world.

“Buy a Tree. Change a Life.” was started in Florida in 2012 and now has 59 sites in 17 states across the country, Silo Square being one of the more recent additions.

“All of the trees have been pre-paid for by donors, so when our customers help us purchase a Christmas tree, 100% of the proceeds will go to children in need,” said Lauren Hill, a volunteer for the Silo Square tree sale.

In its first year in Southaven, $250,000 was raised.

Half of the proceeds go toward the nationwide “Buy a Tree. Change a Life.” movement, which funds orphanages around the world.

The other half stay right here in the Mid-South, going to Healing Hearts, a child advocacy center that serves children in DeSoto and Tate Counties in North Mississippi.

“This is one of our biggest fundraisers,” said Healing Hearts Executive Director Sally Williams.

The fundraiser couldn’t have come at a better time.

In 2021, Williams said Healing Hearts was dealt a “devastating blow” to their amount of federal funding.

“[The government] cut us by 50%,” Williams said. “This [tree sale] made up for the difference in that it allowed us to not have any gaps in services that we provide, which was amazing for us.”

Healing Hearts was founded in 2013, and since its founding, Williams said the prosecution rate for child abuse cases has quadrupled in DeSoto and Tate Counties.

Last year, Healing Hearts served more than 900 children.

The advocacy group works with local law enforcement and child protective services during investigations and provides medical and mental health referrals to children and families.

They also have a “Community Closet” in each county to provide basic, seasonal needs to clients.

“...clothing, toiletries, diapers, formula, different things that a child may need to make them feel at home,” Williams said. “It’s our goal to make sure that any child victim receives hope, healing, and justice for everything that they’ve been through.”

“That’s just shocking for me to hear that many kids are in need in our area, and that’s really what compelled me and all of us to help volunteer and help give these trees out to help our children in need,” Hill said.

The goal this year is obviously to outdo last year’s fundraising total, and Williams is encouraging tree shoppers to consider “Buy a Tree. Change a Life.” because of the cause it represents.

“Everybody wants that perfect Christmas tree. You can come find it here, but you also get a great feeling when you’re doing it,” said Williams. “Not only are you getting something out of it, but the kids and the families that we serve are.”

  • 6′-7′ trees are $115
  • 7′-8′ trees are $135
  • 8′-9′ trees are $175
  • 9′-10′ trees are $215

“Buy a Tree. Change a Life.” continues at Silo Square until December 4.

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