Christmas Tree Jubilee benefits children with special needs

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OGDEN, Utah -- Themed Christmas trees went on sale at the 34th annual Christmas Tree Jubilee in Ogden this week to raise funds for special needs children in the Weber School District.

"Wheel chairs, therapeutic devices, in-home support for therapy, for transportation, and there are many items that are not covered through insurance programs," said Kara Liston, Christmas Tree Jubilee Chair.

Jaylee Dutcher, a fourth grader at Washington Terrace Elementary School, was given a new wheelchair following last year's Jubilee.

"There's a lot of people who like to give back so I'm very thankful for those people," Jaylee said.

This year, 90 trees and 20 wreaths, ranging in price from $100 to $2,000 were sold.  Each tree was decorated with themes like Star Wars, Charlie Brown and rugby. All of them were donated from members of the community.

"You have to be really committed in that investment in donating a tree and people are really so creative.  They put their heart and soul into it. We have people who have been donating trees for decades," Liston said.

This is the first year Mike Puzey purchased a tree from the Jubilee.

"We saw this beautiful tree over here and it reminded us of Scandinavia," Puzey said. "I played ball over there and served a mission over there so we thought this was a great opportunity to get something that was beautiful and also it gives back and helps kids."

A large part of this year's proceeds will go toward funding two playgrounds designed specifically for special needs children. Jaylee can't wait.

"It's pretty awesome because it gives kids a chance to be like any other kid," said Jaylee.

Along with the Christmas tree sales, there were a few other events, including a live auction and dinner. In total, they raised around $300,000. It's quite a jump from their first year, when they raised $3,000.

"The Christmas Tree Jubilee has started out specifically for special needs children, but as the foundation has evolved, we support every child in the Weber School District," Liston said.