Lions Clubs’ Christmas tree sales fund good causes

 

     The weather outside was not frightful, and local Lions found it delightful.

“This is perfect weather for what we’re doing here,” said Palos Lions Club President Roby Schrader, as he and others trimmed, bundled and tied Christmas trees to the tops of vehicles on Sunday afternoon in the south parking lot of First Midwest Bank, 12600 S. Harlem Ave., Palos Heights.

“It’s warm and dry, and we’ve been doing a steady business. In fact, we’ve already sold out of our smallest wreaths, and we’ve only been here a couple of days.”

Nearly half of the 500 trees delivered to the lot were already sold. Stands of balsam firs, Fraser firs and Scotch pines were thinning quickly, as Christmas-spirited men and women drove up to pay $25 to $175 for lush, fragrant trees from Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The annual sale of Christmas trees—and this year, wreaths up to 4 feet in diameter—has been a sure sign of the holidays and a major fundraiser for the Palos Lions for about 35 years, according to past President Tom Crowhurst, who noted that the sale began in the old Dominick’s parking lot at 127th Street and Ridgeland Avenue and then moved to Jewel/Osco at 12803 S. Harlem Ave. before moving to its current location last year.

Last year, the Palos Lions expressed concern about whether the new site would work out, but the bank parking lot configuration makes for an easy drive-through set-up that customers like, Crowhurst said.

“First Midwest Bank has been good to us, and we are grateful,” he added.

Last weekend’s unseasonably mild weather also appeared to have an impact on people’s moods.

“It’s really something this year,” said Lion April Schrader, as she accepted payment from a customer. “People have been very generous. Let’s say the tree costs $60. You’ll find $75 in your hand and when you ask if they want change, the customer says no. It warms your heart.”

Proceeds from the annual tree and wreath sale will help fund the traditional Lions Club endeavors, including a range of programs designed to assist people who are blind or have lesser visual impairments, purchase holiday food baskets for the needy and give scholarships for students at Stagg, Shepard and Chicago Christian High schools.

Crowhurst praised several dozen local youths who helped the Lions lug the trees around the lot, a task that seems a little more difficult each year as club members age. Singled out for praise by Crowhurst were the soccer and power-lifting teams from Stagg High School, as well as a local Boy Scout troop.

“You know, a lot of these kids do this to earn service hours required by their local school,” Crowhurst added. “A number of these kids, though, already had all the hours they needed and just helped us out of the goodness of their hearts. That’s really something.”

Orland Park Lions

Young people were similarly praised by the Orland Park Lions Club, as a hardy band of teens from high school and junior college helped Sunday at the tree lot on the northwest corner of 143rd Street and La Grange Road.

“We’re not getting any younger, and it’s great to have these young backs here to help us,” said Lion Jim Smith as he smiled, puffed on a cigar and watched several young men haul Wisconsin and Michigan trees through the lot for customers.

The Orland Lions are selling balsam and Fraser firs as short as five feet and as tall as 13 feet, at a rate of $12 per foot. They started with 400 trees and may possibly receive a smaller shipment soon. They are also selling wreaths.

Customers were appreciative.

“This is the best way to buy a Christmas tree,” said Orland Park resident Jay McLaughlin, there with his son, Pete, 8, and daughter, Mandy, 6. “There’s no way I’m going to some faceless big-box store, parking a block from the front door and fighting the crowds, only to buy some plastic tree made in China.

“Here the trees and wreaths are real, the Lions and their helpers are friendly, the service is swift, and we’re out here in the open air, breathing in these fresh-cut trees,” he added. “I’m making good holiday memories with my kids, and the dollars I spend are going right back into my community, thanks to the Lions.”

Like their Palos counterparts, the Orland Lions plan to stay on the job until a few days before Christmas or until all tress and wreaths are sold, whichever comes first.

Known throughout the village and township for their generosity, the Orland Park Lions last year donated unsold trees to Our Lady of the Woods Church.

Proceeds from the Orland lot will fund a range of activities, including gift baskets for at least 30 needy families in Orland Township, up from 20 in 2013.

Color-page-one-3-color-4-col-Lions-treefeature-story-copy

Photos by Tim Hadac

Palos Lions Roby Schrader (left) and Mike Grabel pull a Christmas tree through a bundler, moments before loading it onto the roof of a car at the Palos Lions tree lot just south of First Midwest Bank in Palos Heights.

Color-page-one-2-col-Lions-tree-feature-story-copy

Orland Park Lion Jim Smith (right) wields a chainsaw and volunteer Brian Hughes holds a tree steady to trim its trunk and tip to a customer’s liking.

 

page2 3cols PalosLionsLoadTreeonCar 120414-copy

Palos Lions Mike Grabel (left) and Roby Schrader tie down a tree atop the car of Palos Heights residents Rich and Merline Jacobson, who have bought Lions Club Christmas trees for 15 years.

page2 3cols 3PalosLions 120414-copy

Palos Lions Mike Grabel (from left), Tom Crowhurst and Roby Schrader take a break Sunday and enjoy the unseasonably mild weather near their wreath display, newly added this year.

page2 3cols OPLionsHelpers 120414-copy

Young brains and brawn played a key role at the Orland Park Lions tree lot on Sunday. Pausing for a photo are Matt Catona (from left), Seth Masters, Logan Burnson, James Jankowski, Robert Krause, Gavin Burnson, Jacob Keefe, and Brian Hughes.

page2 4cols OPLionsandBanner 120414-copy

Staying true to the decades-old Lions Club mission to prevent blindness, restore eyesight and improve vision for millions of people worldwide are Orland Park Lions Dennis Knaperek (from left), Jim Smith, Jim Jankowski, Sandra Jankowski, Herb Zimmerman, and Kevin McCabe.

 

Local News

Worth Mayor Mary Werner and Worth Police Chief Tim Denton expressed concerns over the impending no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act. (File photo)

Some Worth officials are concerned about SAFE-T Act

By Joe Boyle A controversial criminal justice law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 has some Worth public officials apprehensive and believe it will actually cause an increase in crime. Worth resident Jack McGrath said that varying opinions about the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, or the SAFE-T Act, have arrived in mailings at…

up in smoke license

Worth revokes second business license for selling illegal cigarettes

By Joe Boyle For the second time in less than a month, the Worth Village Board has voted to revoke the license of a business in which illegal cigarettes were being sold. The board accepted the recommendation of the Worth Police Department, which called for the license of Blowing Smoke II Inc., which did business as Up in Smoke, 11015 S. Harlem Ave., to be revoked.…

Pizza Castle will be moving from its longtime home in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood to new digs in Hickory Hills.

Pizza Castle moving from Gage Park to Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong Pizza Castle has had a long run at its Gage Park neighborhood home on the Southwest Side. But after almost 50 years, the Jensen family is pulling up the roots on the family business and moving to the suburbs. The pizzeria, which was founded in 1973, will be moving to 7737 W.…

market by macy's logo

Macy’s grand opening Friday in Evergreen Park

By Bob Bong The new Market by Macy’s and Macy’s Backstage stores will hold their grand openings this weekend at Evergreen Plaza in Evergreen Park. The new stores will open in the former Carson’s at 9700 S. Western Ave. Market by Macy’s will occupy the first floor and Macy’s Backstage outlet store will take over…

Palos Heights Alderman Michael McGrogan said Tuesday that the council should come up with a solution to the proposed parking lot controversy that would satisfy businesses and residents. (Photo by Jeff Vorva )

Parking lot nixed in Palos Heights but issue not dead yet

By Jeff Vorva The controversial parking lot proposal in Palos Heights was not approved Tuesday night but the issue is not dead. The city council needed a super-majority 6-2 vote for a zoning change from residential to business and granting a special-use permit for a municipal parking lot at 12303 S. 71st Court in the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound October 5, 2022

Peggy Zabicki

Senior Center has re-opened

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been blessed with. I visited the Southwest Regional Senior Center, 6117 S. Kedzie, recently. They are open once again, and everything looks very nice. New floors were installed and there are freshly painted…

Mary Stanek

Tabares’ shred day was a fun event

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy National Pizza Month! Don’t we live in a great neighborhood for pizza? There are so many pizza parlors to choose from. There are the big chains and the mom-and-pop establishments. I volunteered on last week at…

Kathy Headley

Kids visit gas station with a purpose

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last Thursday, third graders from McKay School visited the new Roux Gas Station at 7051 S. Western. The station was recently built on the vacant lot where Napleton Buick and its predecessor, Van Male Buick, once stood. Now…

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Worth Mayor Mary Werner and Worth Police Chief Tim Denton expressed concerns over the impending no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act. (File photo)

Some Worth officials are concerned about SAFE-T Act

By Joe Boyle A controversial criminal justice law that goes into effect on Jan. 1 has some Worth public officials apprehensive and believe it will actually cause an increase in crime. Worth resident Jack McGrath said that varying opinions about the Illinois Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, or the SAFE-T Act, have arrived in mailings at…

up in smoke license

Worth revokes second business license for selling illegal cigarettes

By Joe Boyle For the second time in less than a month, the Worth Village Board has voted to revoke the license of a business in which illegal cigarettes were being sold. The board accepted the recommendation of the Worth Police Department, which called for the license of Blowing Smoke II Inc., which did business as Up in Smoke, 11015 S. Harlem Ave., to be revoked.…

Pizza Castle will be moving from its longtime home in Chicago's Gage Park neighborhood to new digs in Hickory Hills.

Pizza Castle moving from Gage Park to Hickory Hills

By Bob Bong Pizza Castle has had a long run at its Gage Park neighborhood home on the Southwest Side. But after almost 50 years, the Jensen family is pulling up the roots on the family business and moving to the suburbs. The pizzeria, which was founded in 1973, will be moving to 7737 W.…

market by macy's logo

Macy’s grand opening Friday in Evergreen Park

By Bob Bong The new Market by Macy’s and Macy’s Backstage stores will hold their grand openings this weekend at Evergreen Plaza in Evergreen Park. The new stores will open in the former Carson’s at 9700 S. Western Ave. Market by Macy’s will occupy the first floor and Macy’s Backstage outlet store will take over…

Palos Heights Alderman Michael McGrogan said Tuesday that the council should come up with a solution to the proposed parking lot controversy that would satisfy businesses and residents. (Photo by Jeff Vorva )

Parking lot nixed in Palos Heights but issue not dead yet

By Jeff Vorva The controversial parking lot proposal in Palos Heights was not approved Tuesday night but the issue is not dead. The city council needed a super-majority 6-2 vote for a zoning change from residential to business and granting a special-use permit for a municipal parking lot at 12303 S. 71st Court in the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound October 5, 2022

Peggy Zabicki

Senior Center has re-opened

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been blessed with. I visited the Southwest Regional Senior Center, 6117 S. Kedzie, recently. They are open once again, and everything looks very nice. New floors were installed and there are freshly painted…

Mary Stanek

Tabares’ shred day was a fun event

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy National Pizza Month! Don’t we live in a great neighborhood for pizza? There are so many pizza parlors to choose from. There are the big chains and the mom-and-pop establishments. I volunteered on last week at…

Kathy Headley

Kids visit gas station with a purpose

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last Thursday, third graders from McKay School visited the new Roux Gas Station at 7051 S. Western. The station was recently built on the vacant lot where Napleton Buick and its predecessor, Van Male Buick, once stood. Now…

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

House Ad Subscription2
Regional First Secure Bank House Ad