Every year proceeds from the the Sedalia Sunrise Optimist Club’s Christmas Tree sale at Thompson Hills Shopping Center goes to help approximately 3,000 children in the surrounding area with support for a variety of community programs.
New Optimist member Kevin W. Campbell, of Sedalia, opened the Christmas tree lot Thanksgiving evening with 400 trees. As of Wednesday only 55 remained.
“We came in about 4 o’clock on Thanksgiving night and we opened up and we ran it until 10 o’clock, there was a lot of people coming in,” Campbell said. “We didn’t do too bad on that day, and that was the first time that was ever done — I thought I’d try it out and see what happened, and it worked. We sold quite a bit.”
Since Thanksgiving, Campbell has been working almost every day, 12 hours at a time. Helping him are his wife, Martha, a volunteer, and Dennis Scholl, of Sedalia, the Optimist’s secretary/treasurer.
Campbell said the group uses this sale and the sales from the Liberty Park train to help local children.
“We’ve helped out the Youth Home in La Monte, and once a year they do a tractor ride, and the money helps out with that,” he said. “The Optimists helped redo a shelter over at Katy Park, they also helped with a shelter over at the food pantry. And we try to keep the train going with the money from this.”
Scholl said the group purchases the trees for $10,000, and that they made a profit of $3,000 last year.
“We hope to do the same this year,” he added.
They plan to have all the trees sold by Dec. 22. Scholl said that unsold trees would be donated to The Open Door Service Center or to the Salvation Army.
The Sedalia Sunrise Optimist sponsors many area programs such as JROTC, the “Kids Day at the Fair,” the Show-Me Christian Youth Home, and a leadership seminar during the summer for high school students.
“La Monte School has requests for special needs too, such as glasses and special shoes for children,” he added.
The group also supplies pocket dictionaries to fourth graders at schools in the area such as Green Ridge, Otterville and Hughesville.
Campbell said the Sunrise Optimist Club has been part of the community for at least 50 years.
On Wednesday, tree prices were reduced. Noble Firs were reduced from $75 to $50 and Scotch pines from $44 to $20. Campbell said they have one balsam fir left selling for $20.
The Sunrise Optimists Christmas tree lot will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 22. They also welcome new members and have meetings every Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. at the Best Western State Fair Inn, 3120 S. Limit Ave.