Every November, as families prepare for their Thanksgiving feast, the local Central Oregon community comes together to ring in the holiday season in support of a cause near and dear to so many Central Oregon hearts.

Hospice of Redmond has been hosting Festival of Trees for the past 37 years as their primary fundraiser. One hundred percent of the funds raised during the event go back to support the programs offered locally through the organization. These services include hospice and palliative care, Transitions, bereavement support programs such as Camp Sunrise, a bereavement camp for kids, and spiritual care. Ensuring access to these services for all Central Oregonians in need is a mission of the organization, and Festival of Trees helps make that a reality.

“Most of our patients are on Medicare, but sometimes we have younger patients who are uninsured or have insurance that doesn’t cover everything,” said Kayla Bucholz, Transitions Coordinator at Hospice of Redmond. “Festival of Trees fills in gaps in a person’s insurance and ensures we can provide much-needed care to local people in need. It also helps fund important programs we provide such as our Transitions Program and Camp Sunrise.”

Our Aging Population

As baby boomers age, the demand for services such as hospice increases too. It is projected that the need for hospice services will double by 2030 (compared to 2010). This increase in demand has made hospice organizations big business, and more for-profit organizations are buying out small nonprofits to gain a larger market share. 

But the folks at Hospice of Redmond want to remain small and maintain the community-focused personalized care, for which they are well known. As one of Central Oregon’s longest-standing independent, non-hospital-based nonprofits, Hospice of Redmond relies on community support through donations and volunteers. 

“We don’t have deep pockets to spend on outreach,” said Jane McGuire, Operations Manager at Hospice of Redmond. “Our financial focus goes toward providing the very best care around.”

2021 Festival of Trees

This brings us to this year’s Festival of Trees. Like 2020, it will be a COVID-friendly event featuring a Tour of Trees to support local businesses and community partners while allowing safe social distancing. Tour of Trees 2021 will allow the Central Oregon community to enjoy Festival of Trees while safely viewing beautifully decorated trees either in person or online. The event will also provide a live virtual auction scheduled for Saturday, December 4th.

“We kept the event in Redmond this year in part to make touring trees easier for viewing but also because staffing shortages in one of our generous local sponsors have made delivering trees after the event quite limited,” said Jane. 

The event this year will showcase 24 beautifully decorated trees that will be auctioned off at 24 different locations in Redmond, Oregon, plus a wine tree that will be raffled. Tree values range from $750 to $5000. Through the generosity of local business donations, each tree is not only something beautiful to behold; it comes with some pretty unique gifts. 

Each year, tree decorators connect with local businesses for tax-deductible donations. Each tree has a theme with relevant gift donations. One such tree includes an Airbnb stay in Whistler Village, British Columbia, and another tree has a four-night stay in Mexico in an Airbnb that sleeps up to 16 people. Local businesses can still support the event by providing a donation “gift” paired with a tree that best fits the donation. Cash donations are available too.

Online and in-person tree viewing will begin on November 21st and run through December 4th. Online bidding for trees will begin on November 30th, culminating with a live virtual auction on Saturday, December 4th, at 7 pm televised on KBNZ, Central Oregon Daily. Trees are to be delivered to the winning bidders on December 5th. 

“We are delighted that our auctioneer is once again the beloved Paul Schultz of Stokes Auction Group,” said Jane. “Paul auctions off every tree live, and his exuberance makes the event exciting and fun for all who get to witness him.”

While last year’s Tour of Trees was successful as an event and brought much-needed traffic into many of our community businesses, there was a significant decrease in fundraising over prior years, raising about a third of typical years. It is the goal for 2021 that more community members participate in the event. 

“I love that Redmond has so many wonderful things you can do during the holidays, such as the Starlight Parade,” said Jane. “I am grateful that Festival of Trees adds another layer to the season, bringing joy to the community. We like to think of it as the premier event of the season.”

To view a map of trees or to learn more about Festival of Trees, click here.