TEMPLE, Texas — The 10th Annual 'Chrome & Carols Festival of Trees' is getting ready for a bigger and better year in 2020 but they are doing it all virtually because of COVID-19.
"Normally we have it at Horny Toad Harley Davidson and it's live and in person with over 500 guests but this year because of COVID, instead of cancelling it, we just decided to turn it virtual," Veshell Greene with the United Way of Central Texas said.
The Chrome and Carols event will feature 13 professionally decorated trees that will be raffled off on December 3 at 7 p.m and each tree will have over $1,000 dollars’ worth of gifts underneath.
There will also be a silent auction which will feature a H-E-B chef package, a weekend getaway to The Silos, the Grand Harley Davidson tree and a fishing trip.
Veshell Greene with the United Way said it's more important now than ever to come together as a community and help those who have been struggling, especially amid a pandemic.
"People are constantly calling and needing help with their rent, their needing help with their utilities, their needing help with their car payments, car insurance," she said. "They need help with their child care."
The United Way of Central Texas said they focus on three building blocks of life as they work to improve lives in our area: Education, financial stability and health.
Seleese Thompson, who owns and operates Precious Memories Floral and Gift Shop, also helps organize the Chrome and Carols event and has every year since it started.
"It's absolutely incredible and when we talk with the people who receive the funds from an event like this, they tell us how many meals it can mean and how many events it can change in people's lives," she said.
Thompson, Greene and about a few other people were busy decorating the Christmas trees to be raffled off in December. Others were putting together trikes, bikes and other gifts that will accompany the the trees, all of them slated to be a different theme.
"It's too awful for what it would be like for people to not have this organization to turn to for help and have the resources it provides," Thompson said.
All the money raised during the raffle and silent auction will benefit the United Way of Central Texas. Helping those who need it with rental assistance, car payments, groceries and so many things that are hard to afford for some families and abused children with nowhere else to turn.
"It's necessary for us to be here, it's necessary for us to do this," Greene said. "It's necessary because when you have children that have been abused in their homes, a place that is supposed to be a safe place, and the agency that takes care of these children, for them not to have funding, for them not to be able to take care of that abused child and for that abused child to go and have destructive behavior. It's a cycle and we need to stop it."
In 2019 the Chrome and Carols Festival of Trees raised more than $50,000 dollars for local community impact programs. Like last year, this years event, will be hosted by Kris Radcliffe and Leslie Draffin. Bidding on trees will begin the week of November 1.
If you would like to donate to the event, whether it's monetary or through a different means, you can do so online or by calling Greene at 254-778-8616.