Sponsors from around New Hanover County have been decorating and donating one hundred Christmas trees to the Lower Cape Fear's Hospice "Festival of Trees" for the past 25 years. Hospice employee Darcy Law lost her mother-in-law who was a hospice patient in September. A dove ornament was added to one tree with thousands of other names of patients hospice has cared for in the past year. "The gratitude I feel for such an organization that does so much for families who are in need at just the worst possible times in their life, it's hard to describe." Besides being the biggest fundraiser for Hospice, the festival highlights the importance of what the organization does for the community. However, the 25th anniversary of the "Festival of Trees" could be the last one. Hospice Events Manager, Bob Jones says festival is changing next year. "What we're coming to terms with is saying that it's the last festival of trees as you know it, with the way society is changing, and the dedication that people can give to volunteering, it's becoming very difficult to find volunteers with experience." Finding seasoned volunteers and an adequate location to house donated trees has forced organizers to scale down the festival. With the Wilmington "Festival of Trees" pulling in more than $100,000 each year, it will be difficult for it to have the same impact. A much smaller version of the festival will open in Whiteville in December.
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