Whitehaven residents create fundraiser for better Southland Mall Christmas tree

The Southland Mall
The Southland Mall(Action News 5)
Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 11:36 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A picture of Southland Mall’s new Christmas Tree has been making its rounds on social media after some Whitehaven residents weren’t too holly-jolly about its appearance.

The tree was put up Monday, but it was criticized so badly online, the mall took it down just two days later.

Residents even compared it to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, a tree Whitehaven residents didn’t want to embrace.

“We were told that the tree had not been finished in terms of the decorating because if you saw the image there were a lot of decorations from the bottom of the tree up until about midway,” said Pearl Walker with the I Love Whitehaven Business Association.

Walker said the former 40-foot Christmas tree, now damaged, stood tall until 2017.

Now, after five years without one, the new spruce’s appearance doesn’t cut it. Walker said mall management took it down and discarded it Wednesday.

A community fundraiser, RESPECT The Haven CDC led by Jason Sharif went up immediately to replace the tree.

“I’m a Muslim. I don’t even celebrate Christmas but for me, this is bigger than a tree. This is about promoting community life. This is about bringing pride and respect back to the Southland Mall and back to the Whitehaven community,” said Sharif.

The fundraiser’s goal for a new tree is set at $30,000. It’s already raised over $12,000 with the help of community members, Southland Mall, and the School Seed Foundation.

It’s even gained the interest of local county and state leaders. Organizers of the fundraiser say they hope this can be an investment that will last for years to come.

On Monday, Sharif said they hope to get a corporate sponsor to match the funds raised so far.

He also said they’re looking to purchase a 30-foot artificial tree from Collierville for $24,000. If purchased, the tree is expected to be put up in front of Southland Mall, on Dec. 3.

If you would like to donate to the new Christmas tree you can click here.

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