WEST WARWICK — It’s that time again, and after a year like this one, families are more ready than ever to embrace the holiday cheer — and Troop 31 Crompton is here to deliver.
Freshly cut trees fill a portion of the parking lot outside the Holy Ghost Society, each one ready to be purchased and taken home as part of Troop 31’s annual Christmas tree and wreath fundraiser.
The tree stand fundraiser is a local tradition that stretches back some 37 years.
“We struggled with whether we should run it this year with everything that’s going on,” said Dave Stamos, scoutmaster of Troop 31. “But people really want Christmas this year — they want to be happy and celebrate.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the tree stand this year is manned mostly by parent volunteers. Still, Ben Almagno, a junior at Coventry High School, and Zackery Snowman, a seventh grader at John F. Deering Middle School, were on site Sunday afternoon to assist in carrying the trees and giving them fresh cuts.
Almagno has been scouting since he was in kindergarten. For him, participating in projects like the tree stand fundraiser is all about giving back.
“I’m just trying to give back to the community what scouting has given to me,” he said Sunday, surrounded by firs. “If I can help, here or anywhere else, I’m happy to be there.”
Snowman shared a similar sentiment.
“I’m here to help out the community during the Christmas season, and just to see if anything is needed,” he said, a “Troop 31 Crompton” neck gaiter covering the lower half of his face. “I’m just here to help.”
The trees were purchased locally, from Big John Leyden’s Tree Farm and Gentleman’s Farmer. In all, the troop has more than 200 trees to sell — which shouldn’t be an issue. By Sunday afternoon, just two days after the stand opened, around 50 trees had already been sold to families from across Rhode Island.
Wreaths, both plain and pre-decorated, are also being sold.
And in addition to selling trees directly, the Scouts also run a program that allows businesses to purchase a tree for $50 that will in turn be donated to a family in need.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will help fund the annual Camp Yawgoog trip for the some 30 Scouts who make up Troop 31.
Christmas trees range in price from $39 to $50, depending on height and fullness, while plain wreaths are being sold for $15 and decorated wreaths for $20.
Troop 31 Crompton’s Tree Stand is open daily for the next few weeks from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Holy Ghost Society, 11 Ventura St., West Warwick.