GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - "Twas just weeks before Christmas, and all through these halls,
A Festival of Trees lined along the walls.
The ornaments were hung on some 70 trees with care,
In hopes delighted visitors soon would be there.
The trees all had themes from stars to St. Nick.
All so jolly it’d scare the Grinch away quick!
From Frosty’s black boots to Olaf’s warm hugs,
The purpose here—on the heartstrings it tugs.
"We provide parent mentors, resource information and some support groups for families of disabilities, chronic illness, premature births and parents who have experienced the death of a child," explains Brenda Boberg, the executive director and founder of the Family Support Network of Eastern North Carolina. The organization has been supporting families for more than 30 years and hosting this fundraising festival for more than 20 of those years. Local businesses and agencies pay to sponsor the trees to raise money for the Family Support Network. Boberg says all of the trees have some sort of connection to the families served by the Family Support Network.
Boberg helps decorate many trees here, but one in particular is just heavenly.
"There’s the Angel Tree, which is in memory of my daughter," Boberg says. "She passed away nine years ago of cancer. It’s her legacy from us, her family."
Boberg started the support network so many years ago for others, but she found herself the recipient of that support, as her daughter Angel gained her wings.
Boberg hopes the festival helps people keep in mind the true meaning of Christmas and the imporance of family.
"When life comes to an end, all we have are these beautiful memories, of love and laughter, and that is what Angel taught me. That’s what this festival is about--it’s about families. It’s about families being together, families reaching out, families taking the opportunity to look past all of this craziness in our world and remember that the most important thing is the love that we share."
Behind the lights of the festival, love is the reason.
Happy festival to all and to all a merry season!
The Festival of Trees will remain open until December 22. It's free, and you can even have your child drop their letter to Santa in the special mailbox there. The Greenville Convention Center is located at 303 Greenville Blvd. SW, Greenville. You can learn more about the Family Support Network of Eastern North Carolina by clicking here.