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United Way Tree of Lights returning this holiday season

The United Way of Northern BC is bringing back the Tree of Lights this holiday season in Prince George.

In a collective effort to bring the light of hope and joy in the face of the global pandemic, a 60-foot tree will once again be hoisted atop the Coast Prince George by APA in downtown Prince George. The tree will arrive at about 11 a.m. this morning.

The goal of the community tradition is to inspire people to understand that no matter how dark or difficult life gets, it does not remain the same forever.

The United Way has set a fundraising goal of $30,000 for the tree, with proceeds going towards raising awareness and support programs and services to fight the #unignorable issue to drug abuse and overdoses in Prince George and other issues that surround it, such a mental wellness and basic needs. The holiday season can make these issues even more prevalent, amplifying already fragile situations and putting further pressure on already waning resources.

“With this addition crisis of overdoses in B.C. running parallel to the pandemic, we feel it an important, yet often polarizing, issue to stand up for across northern B.C.” said Trista Spencer, executive director for the United Way of Northern BC. “The things we have learned from our outreach during this last year is that mental health and additions knows no social boundaries and is affecting our youth to our elders in ways we didn’t imagine it could. With these learnings we are keen to bring the needed resources to ensure anyone who is vulnerable received the information and support they need to not just survive, but thrive.”

She said the United Way Tree of Lights is a twofold project for the United Way. It allows the organization to bring attention to some critical issue and it is a great way to connect the community during a time when many are feeling isolated.

“We want to bring the magic of the holidays and we couldn’t be more excited,” she said.

And the program is expanding. The North Peace Cultural Centre is raising a grand tree in their concourse to coincide with the opening of this year’s Artisan Christmas Market in Fort St. John. The goal for that tree is to raise $10,000.

For more information, to become a sponsor, or make a donation to this initiative, contact the United Way at info@unitedwaynbc.ca or 250-561-1040. Follow the event on Facebook and Instagram @unitedwaynbc and check their website at www.unitedwaynbc.ca.

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