There is a great local fundraiser called
The Original Christmas Tree Lane
Betty and Glenn Copple have been in the area since 1989 and this is the 15th year they've hosted this event. It's come a long way since the first year, when it was only held for a single day. I had a chance to catch up with Betty earlier in the week and asked her some questions about it.
WR: What got you interested in this type of event?
BC: When we were in Fullerton, I saw an event very similar to this, and when we moved to this area there was nothing in the month of December to draw people out, to get them excited about scholarships. So my husband decided to start this.
WR: What's the official name of the event?
BC: The Original Christmas Tree Lane
WR: How many sponsors do you have this year?
BC: We have fourteen primary sponsors, and many others from the community that help out.
WR: How much has it grown from the first year?
BC: The first year, we only made $3,000, and we were only opened for just one day. Now we're opened for ten days and we typically bring in $12,000-$15,000.
WR: Where does the money go?
BC: Half goes to the Boys & Girls Club, we also give to the Rotary Club helping with a camp up at Crestline. Last year we were able to send four students, this year we were able to send ten students. We had over 500 students who went this past year [from the general area]. My husband and I were volunteer chaperones at the camp.
WR: What kind of camp is it?
BC: It is a motivational camp. A lot of these students aren't certain what they want to do when they get to college. [paraphrased →] The goal is to help them focus on their education.
WR: How easy is it to purchase tickets?
BC: (With a big smile) I'm standing just inside the door. You put your first name and your phone number on the back of each ticket you purchase. Then put it in the can that you choose [in front of the various trees and prizes]. You don't have to be present to win.
|Everyone loves a Teddy Bear.|
WR: When is the drawing, and what is it usually like?
BC: On the 7th of December, at 4:00 in the afternoon [a Sunday]. Last year we had 2000 people here for the drawing. Within an hour after the drawing, I'll have contacted all the winners. If I can't get ahold of them that night, that's not a problem. I'll personally will be the one calling until I get ahold of the person. Even if it takes a couple of days.
|A variety of collectible steins.|
WR: If a new sponsor is interested for next year, who do they contact, and what do they do?
BC: Betty Copple, and my number is 951-217-6291. I start prepping for the next year's event in January. SWS Storage donates a full shed to store the things we collect throughout the year.
|The Rotary Club tree has many appliances 'under' it.|
WR: What are some of your favorite memories from past events... any that stand out?
BC: Oh I do. There is one couple that had been married for about seven years. They came in and they had five children with them. The oldest was close to ten. They won 2 trees. It couldn't have gone to a better family because these were foster kids that they are now adopting... they come back every year. I got a call just yesterday saying, "We're coming down a day early, before the drawing, so we can hand out flyers to encourage more people to come in and buy tickets". It's really helped their family immensely.
|Christmas is a time for smiles. *<|:^) } [it's a Santa emoticon, see it?]|
☺This looks to be a fun event to attend. Plus the money raised is going to two great causes so you can count me in.
I suggest you make a special trip down to the Lake Elsinore Outlet Mall to go check it out... especially if you have youngs ones that would like to see the different displays. There is one, that wasn't easy to photograph, that was a living room set, with a TV and an X-Box One.
Since the space is being donated, there is no large neon sign on the building saying "Original Christmas Tree Lane" but it's easy enough to find... you can't miss all those Christmas trees in the windows. It's on the east side (the freeway side) and it's in the middle, but closer to the northern end in suite G160.
|The top of the graphic is the freeway. The red arrow indicates the location.|
Tickets are $1 apiece, 6 for $5 or 160 for $100. Winners do not need to be present and ALL of the money goes to the two causes. All the time and prizes on are donated by people and companies, none of the money is used for overhead.
I'm not sure which tree(s) to put my tickets towards, but I'm sure that my wife already has that detail all figured out. Hope to see you there.
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I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. —Shirley Temple