By Kathryn Menue


On Wednesday, Nov. 30, from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., area organizations, businesses, and families had the opportunity to decorate Christmas trees for Boone County families in need this holiday season.

Almost 100 groups signed up to participate in this yearly 4-H Federation event at the Community Building Complex of Boone County, located at 111 W. First St. in Belvidere.

As decorators entered the Community Building, they instantly were greeted with the sweet scent of pine and the melodic sound of Christmas carols resonating throughout the building.

The only requirements for decorating a Christmas tree were to pay $30 to purchase the live Christmas tree, bring in decorations for the tree, and buy presents for the family that could otherwise not afford to have a Merry Christmas this year.

Due to the overwhelming generosity in Boone County, 90 underprivileged families will be able to celebrate Christmas this year.

“This is a wonderful event,” Kris Hall, from the 4-H Federation of Boone County, said. “This year, we have 90 Christmas trees, so we are delivering 90 Christmas trees with gifts to families in Boone County. The organizations and families that sponsor these trees are wonderful. It’s really fun. We have a great community.”

Hall, along with Donna Marring, attended the sign-in table, directing groups to their specified Christmas tree. All 90 Christmas trees were numbered and assigned to a group to ensure the right Christmas tree and presents ended up with the correct families. The numbers also helped with voting during Hometown Christmas where community members could vote on their favorite Christmas trees.

Some organizations really got into the spirit of competition by creating clever themes for their trees to get the most votes.

Christmas tree comprised of ornaments the girls made themselves, Sarah Sterenberg, of Love in Action, said.

For instance, Love in Action, a girls Other organizations came up with unique ideas as well.

For example, the Boone County Health Department created a “Golden Christmas” tree, whereas the Belvidere Star Program created accessory items, such as a snowman, out of recyclable materials.

Other groups didn’t pick themes. Instead, they focused on simply providing a Merry Christmas through more traditional trees. One such group was State Representative Joe Sosnowski’s office.

“We do it every year because it’s a great outreach for the Belvidere/Boone County community,” Neeley Erickson, of State Representative Joe Sosnowski’s office said.

After decorating and voting were complete, the 4-H Federation made sure all trees and presents were delivered safely to the Boone County families on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 4. This way, each family could enjoy their tree throughout the holiday season.


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