According to SCNow.com, an enormous Christmas tree arrived at the State House in Columbia on Monday from Pinetum Christmas Tree Farm in Swanton, MD. It marked the fourth consecutive year that the state tree has come from Pinetum owners Marshall and Cindy Stacy.
While the last three trees were also exceptional, this one carries a unique and inspiring story. The Stacys, who own a vacation house in the Lowcountry and consider South Carolina to be their second home, donated this year’s tree to the state after October’s historic flooding devastated much of the region.
Fundraising for the state tree is usually done by The Columbia Garden Club and the Garden Club of South Carolina. The Stacys’ charity has allowed the garden clubs to use these funds to aid residents who are still reeling from substantial flood damages.
“They know what we’re going through and how a natural disaster impacts the community,” said Jane Suggs of the Columbia Garden Club. “Their generosity really touched us, and we wanted to pay their kindness forward. The garden clubs will be donating the funds we raised for the tree to the ongoing flood relief efforts in our state.”
The Lowcountry is known for its close-knit and vibrant community, so goodwill like this is not uncommon. South Carolinians responded as one would expect them to after the flooding, working together to weather the storm and restore their unique community.
“This is one of the great things about living in South Carolina, the sense of community and neighborliness,” says Amy Zamostny, Marketing Director, Reed Group. “While Bluffton and May River Preserve weren’t affected directly, we held a town water/paper supply drive for those who were. Like our annual 5k run that raises money for underprivileged school children, it’s helping out and coming together as a community that make it such a great place to live.”
According to the Hampton County Guardian, those who were most affected by the flooding include small business owners, mobile home owners, and the homeless. About 40% of small businesses have yet to reopen as a result of the flooding, and disaster relief is ongoing.
Donations from the tree fund will go towards helping these businesses reopen, in addition to providing aid to mobile home residents who have been unable to reenter their homes because of significant mold damage.
As for the state Christmas tree, more than 10,000 LED lights and 900 ornaments will soon adorn the 35-foot white fir. The tree will remain dark until the 49th Annual Governor’s Carolighting on Nov. 30.