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Tree mulch in Powell River benefits Special Olympics

Funds raised at the tree mulch will support local athletes
Special Olympics BC-Powell River Tree Mulch
MULCHING TIME: Volunteers unload trees at a previous Special Olympics BC-Powell River Tree Mulch fundraiser in the parking lot below Mother Nature on Duncan Street. The annual event returns on January 3, 2021. Peak archive photo

Powell River’s annual charity Christmas tree mulch will take place on Sunday, January 3, with proceeds supporting Special Olympics Powell River.

“It is one of our main fundraisers we do every year,” says local Special Olympics coordinator Jackie Milsom. “We only have about three fundraisers a year which we rely on pretty heavily. We’re glad we’re able to do this again.”

Residents have two options to participate. For a suggested minimum $5 donation, they can bring their tree to the event for disposal, or purchase a tag at 7-Eleven, Top Shelf Feeds or Mother Nature for Sunday morning curbside pickup. Tags can be purchased until the end of the day on January 2. Those opting for pickup should have their tree tagged and at the curb by 8 am on January 3.

“Only trees with BC Special Olympics tags will be picked up,” says Milsom. “Anyone making a donation $20 or over will be issued a tax receipt, they just need to include their address and phone number.”

Formed in 1991, the Powell River chapter of Special Olympics provides sport programs for aquatics, bocce, bowling, curling, floor hockey and golf, as well as a general fitness program for athletes.

“Even though we don’t have any programs running at the moment for our athletes, we’re hoping that is going to change in the new year, so we are continuing to raise funds for when we do get back at it, so they are able to start participating again,” says Milsom. “They are all really missing it, but we’re at the mercy of the pandemic right now, like everyone else.”

All the funds raised at the tree mulch will stay in Powell River to support local athletes.

“We rent the pool, we have a golf program, we have a bocce program, so all of the equipment we need to offer the programs, as well as the facility rentals, and then uniforms when we need them, so most of our expenses are just running the programs locally,” says Milsom. “Our bowling program is one of our biggest because it offers the widest age range and it is weekly.”

At the December 3 city council meeting, councillors reviewed correspondence from Milsom, requesting the city be once again involved in the annual Christmas tree pickup. Councillor Jim Palm said the city always endorses this event.

“It’s run by many of our employees out in the yard and they do a fantastic job in the community,” said Palm. “I’m 100 per cent behind this endeavour.”

Mayor Dave Formosa added that he didn’t think council had ever sent a letter of thanks to the city’s CUPE workers for putting this on every year.

“I wouldn’t mind doing that if we could have a letter from mayor and council thanking the workers for putting this on every year,” said Formosa. “They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

Staff was directed to send such a letter. Palm said the letter should also go to Milsom, who, in the correspondence to council, stated that Special Olympics in Powell River has more than 50 athletes involved in sports programs.

“Currently, we are not able to offer our regular programming, but our goal is to continue to work toward providing local athletes with the opportunity to enhance their lives and celebrate personal achievement through positive sport experiences when it is safe to do so,” stated Milsom. “We appreciate the support we have received from mayor and council in the past and we hope we can look forward to your continued support.”

Council provided unanimous consent to proceeding with the Christmas tree mulch, which will take place from 10 am to 1 pm at Mother Nature, 7050 Duncan Street. Chip disposal is courtesy of Augusta Recyclers.

For more information about the tree mulch or Special Olympics Powell River, contact Milsom at 604.414.8266.