Like a superhero Santa, the City of Cypress graciously offered The Youth Center in Los Alamitos a new site for their 20th annual Christmas Tree Lot, a major fundraiser for the award-winning nonprofit. Due to construction, the lot had to be moved from Ganahl Lumber in Los Alamitos to a new location this year.
With the help of Cypress Mayor Jon Peat and City Manager Peter Grant, this year’s tree lot will be near the Los Alamitos Race Track parking lot at 5047 Katella Ave., (intersection of Katella and Siboney) in Cypress. It will be open Nov. 24 to Dec. 17 with hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, and noon to 9 p.m. on week days.
Without the City of Cypress’ help, more than 300 elementary and high school “elves” would not receive vital volunteer work experience hours. The Youth Center also would not be able to provide program services for children, be able to give holiday trees to families in need, or give back funds to local schools.
“With the City of Cypress extending a helping hand, lives are forever changed for the better, and we cannot express our gratitude enough!” said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme.
With big smiles and rolled up sleeves, The Youth Center is now preparing for the arrival of 3,000 trees from farms in Oregon. As part of being eco-friendly, new trees are replanted. Four kinds of fragrant, fresh trees will be sold along with other holiday items. There will also be a raffle and opportunity for shoppers to donate to specific schools, supporting volunteerism in the local community.
“By buying from the Youth Center, we are enriching the lives of children in our neighborhoods,” said Board Member Debra Macknicki.
Volunteers are needed and can be as young as 14 (without a parent), with a mandatory orientation on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Youth Center in Los Alamitos. Both Los Alamitos Unified School District (LAUSD) and Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD) students have been invited to provide volunteer help, giving them a chance to give back while earning valued community service hours. Students from any high school are welcome to participate.
“Ninety-nine percent of those assisting with the tree lot are volunteers,” Youth Center Executive Assistant Julie Rubin said. “There’s nothing like being around the wonderful scent of pine while helping families find the perfect tree. Without the warm welcome by Mayor Peat and City Manager Grant, this would not be possible. We are forever grateful!”
Rubin added, “It was after hearing our plea for space for the lot, that my realtor, a Cypress resident said, ‘Knowing how my city reached out for this worthy cause makes me proud to be a resident of the City of Cypress.’”
The Youth Center is also grateful to their big supporters including Ganahl Lumber, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas and the Los Alamitos Race Track as well.
All trees arrive weekly and are freshly cut again on-site at the lot. Delivery is available within 10 miles for a modest fee. Wreaths, small trees (under 3’), garland, stands, tree preservatives, bags, and holiday knickknacks are also sold at the lot.
Types of trees sold are the Noble, Nordmann Fir, Grand Fir and Douglas Fir. The best sellers for aroma and long life are the popular Noble. The Nordman Fir is known for a bluish-green color and strong branches. The Douglas Fir trees are the most affordable and come out later towards the holidays. The Grand Fir trees are known for their aromatic scent. Trees are painstakingly cared for and watered within one hour of being cut at the lot.
“It’s work done with love and with kids in mind,” added Rubin.
Selecting a tree from the Youth Center is an annual tradition for many, with every penny raised going directly to their After School Program, RASCALS, Music Program, the Leadership Academy, “Every 15 Minutes” bi-annual youth drunk driving determent program, Camp S.H.A.R.K. and Teen Camps.
“The Youth Center Christmas trees are a win-win situation,” said Youth Center Fundraising Committee Member Mark Macknicki. “I get the best Christmas tree available while supporting a great organization, which provides an enriched environment for children.”
Funds will also benefit local elementary PTA groups, Los Alamitos High School baseball, basketball, marching bands, and other youth organizations.
Proceeds from the tree lot fund scholarships for the many programs the Youth Center runs, and enables children who might not otherwise be able to attend, to be able to come, according to Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme. She added, ”Over 65 families got scholarships last year from the Christmas tree lot proceeds alone.”
For more information on the Youth Center annual Christmas Tree Lot and how to volunteer, please sign up online at www.theyouthcenter.org or contact the Youth Center at 562-493-4043.