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December 5, 2022

Lights honor loved ones

Hospice Foundation raises money for local programs with Trees of
Life
The Hospice Foundation launched its largest fundraising campaign
of the season with the Tree of Life tree lighting ceremonies in
four central coast cities, including a Hollister celebration Dec.
11.
The lights on the tree at the Veterans Memorial Plaza will shine
each night through Dec. 31, and they represent the memory of lost
loved ones.
Hospice Foundation raises money for local programs with Trees of Life

The Hospice Foundation launched its largest fundraising campaign of the season with the Tree of Life tree lighting ceremonies in four central coast cities, including a Hollister celebration Dec. 11.

The lights on the tree at the Veterans Memorial Plaza will shine each night through Dec. 31, and they represent the memory of lost loved ones.

The Hospice Foundation, a nonprofit that supports hospice and end-of-life care on the Central Coast, has held the annual celebrations for 25 years, starting in Hollister 15 years ago.

“We added the tree lighting in Hollister 15 years ago because our support is significant in that area,” said Jennifer Pettley, the director of communications for Hospice Foundation. “We wanted to create a celebration for San Benito County residents.”

Though the tree lighting ceremony is over, residents can make donations to Hospice Foundation through Dec. 31. The minimum suggested donation is $25 and it can be made in honor or memory of someone. Donors who give $150 receive a crystal ornament etched with the Foundation’s logo, and for $160, they can have an inscription put on the ornament. The money raised by Hospice Foundation goes to such programs as the palliative care program at Hazel Hawkins Hospital, the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Central Coast.

“Everyone is faced with a situation at some point in their lives at which they will be involved with the care or support of someone at the end of life,” Pettley said. “It crosses all socioeconomic and cultural landscapes.”

The Hospice Foundation gave out 2009-10 grants in October, with more than $60,000 going to Hazel Hawkins palliative care program, where the goal is to alleviate painful symptoms associated with serious illnesses.

“We helped, with our funding, Hazel Hawkins start up the palliative care program and we have continued to support it for training additional staff members,” Pettley said. “We leave it to Hazel Hawkins [staff and board members] to determine the need and then they write a grant proposal to us.”

Other programs to receive funding included the VNA, which received $171,420 to a hospice care provider, among other programs.

“We raise funds and we awarded grants to a number of different local organizations that provide care, comfort and dignity to people at the end of life, and their families,” Pettley said. “There are different services that families need and not one organization can provide them all so we fund a network of services in the area so that people have the choices and services they need when facing this most difficult time.”

Pettley stressed that the Trees of Life lighting ceremonies are not just a fundraiser, but also a celebration that is open to the community.

“You don’t have to have been involved in hospice,” Pettley said. “It is about commemoration, remembering and honoring. Someone doesn’t have to have any connection to hospice care.”

In each city which hosts a tree lighting ceremony, a committee of volunteers planned the event, from the speakers at the ceremony to the entertainment, which this year featured the Oriana Chorale in Hollister. The committee this year included Deborah Armstrong, Dave Baumgartner, Lanetta Bishop, Mary Damm, Dee Hone, Gordon Machado, Jack Markle, Mary McCullough, Barbara Nicoara, Josh Redmond and Sunny Underwood.

A commemoration book is online at the Hospice Foundation, where people who donate can see the name of their loved one. The book will be updated each day through Dec. 31 as more donations come in.

To donate, visit www.HospiceGiving.org or call 333-9023. Donations can also be mailed to: Hospice Foundation, P.O. Box 1798, Monterey, CA 93942-1798.

Melissa Flores
A staff member edited this provided article.

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