Deep River-Chester Lions Club Hosts 68th Annual Christmas Tree Sale
Deep River-Chester Lions Club Tree Sale volunteers Rob Lunn, Dave Thorpe, Kim Lee, and Tim Carlson set up for the 2019 sale. This year, the sale kicks off at Deep River Hardware on Friday, Nov. 27. (Photo courtesy of Kim Lee )
Art Davies reviews the offerings in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Kim Lee )
A tradition since 1952, the Deep River-Chester Lions Club’s annual Christmas tree sale to benefit seniors will continue this year, despite the pandemic.
“Every penny of proceeds goes right back into the community,” said Tim Carlson, president of the club.
The Lion’s Club will have the trees available for purchase starting Friday, Nov. 27 at the Deep River Hardware Store, 2 Elm Street in Deep River. A tree costs $45.
Art Davies, a long-time member of the club, says the sale offers patrons convenience.
“You don’t have to go out looking, cutting trees down in the woods, just drive in here, get a nice-looking tree, $45 and there you go, you’re happy,” he said.
The trees, which are sourced from a farm in Connecticut, will range in height from 5- to 8-feet. Varieties will include Fraser fir, Concolor fir, Douglas fir, and Blue spruce. The trees will be sold Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Carlson said that each year, trees are sold out. So, this year, they have added 25 trees to the 150 routinely sold in prior years.
Some individuals and families have made purchasing a tree from the Lion’s Club a tradition.
“We have the patrons that come every year…Families of five or six that will come and sometimes kids that just got their license, brothers and sisters whose parents asked them to come,” said Carlson.
The approximate $2,500 in proceeds are customarily used to host a sit-down dinner for Chester and Deep River senior citizens at a local church in Chester.
This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional turkey dinner will be served take-out style on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 from the kitchens of the First Congregational Church at 1 Church Street in Deep River between 5 and 7 p.m.
The dinner, which in years past has served more than 100, is usually a time for seniors to enjoy the comradery of friends, according to Davies.
“We’re going to be doing the take-out, but at least we’ll provide them with a good meal,” said Davies.
The church in Deep River has experience with meals-to-go, serving as a Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries meal site during the pandemic.
“They have all the kinks worked out as far as traffic flow,” said Carlson. “We’re going to be able to follow the same procedure as the soup kitchen has been doing for the past several months.”
The Deep River-Chester Lions Club, which, over the years, has received help from other community organizations to put on the dinner, will be working solo this year to ensure adherence to indoor capacity limits. Safety protocols will also be instituted for meal preparation and handling, as required during the pandemic.
In addition to the annual tree sale to benefit seniors, the club provides many services to the community each year.
“It’s a small club, but we’re pretty active,” said Davies.
Some examples of the services provided by the Lions Club include sight screenings for elementary school students, scholarships for graduating seniors or students who aspire to work in a trade, distribution of holiday gift baskets for those in need, and support for a variety of programs.
These programs include Camp Rising Sun, for children with cancer, The Cove Center for Grieving Children, Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, and the Connecticut Radio Information System for the blind, among many others.
Interested senior citizens can sign up for the turkey dinner by calling the Deep River Hardware Store at 860-526-2776.