NEWS

Deck the Trees announces 2022 theme, continues to raise money for SVCM Fuel Fund

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Herschel's won a Deck the Trees award for best representing the theme from the community selection.

Deck the Trees has raised nearly $200,000 for the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry’s Fuel Fund since its inception in 2011.

Though no money was raised the first year, Deck the Trees has increased the amount raised each year, with $41,426.19 raised last year.

All money raised from the event goes to the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry’s Fuel Fund, which helps keep those in need warm during the winter months.

Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry Executive Director Cheryl Wilson said the event will be especially helpful this year as costs keep rising. She said the organization has been paying $560 for 100 gallons of oil for one family. Wilson said in the last few weeks, they have spent more than $11,000 helping 12 clients with oil and 18 families with electricity.

“We are so grateful for Deck the Trees and this community that comes together to support us and those we serve,” Wilson said. “Without the help we are able to provide, many of them would be cold this winter.”

Each year a different theme is chosen, ranging from “Christmas in Music and Song” to “A Black Mountain Christmas.” The 2022 theme is “Let Heaven and Nature Sing.”

Libba Fairleigh, Deck the Trees committee chairperson, said the event started when Cappi Macsherry teamed up with the Monte Vista Hotel for art shows promoting both the hotel and Macsherry’s gallery, Anthm.

The Black Mountain Fire Department won a Deck the Trees award for the most money raised at the Monte Vista Hotel.

Fairleigh said when Christmas came around that year, Macsherry had the idea to have businesses decorate trees for the hotel. One tree centered around the Christmas song, “Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer.”

“The trees were all really fun, and people loved the idea,” Fairleigh said. “The next year, Cappi got a committee going and I was her co-chair, and they started to raise funds for Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry and the Fuel Fund, and it grew from there. Two years after that, Cappi moved up to New York and it was too needed and event to stop it, so we kept on going.”

To date, Deck the Trees has raised a total of $192,510.14.

 “The money is really needed,” Fairleigh said. “Just thinking about how cold it’s going to get tonight and tomorrow night and you think about people who are not warm in their homes. You think we can’t raise money fast enough to help with this.”

Trees are designed by businesses, community groups and individuals. Traditionally, the trees were displayed at the Monte Vista Hotel, but in an effort to social distance in the wake of COVID-19 in 2020, the committee moved to having trees around town as well.

Fairleigh said she loves to see the way the themes are interpreted each year.

“I can’t wait to see the creativity,” Fairleigh said. “Black Mountain is rich in artistic talent, and the ways that people interpret the theme are always unique and always beautiful. They’re whimsical, they’re beautiful, they fill your heart, they make you remember Christmases past.”

Wilson said she enjoys the event and looks forward to it every year and appreciates the help it brings to Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry.

“It’s a wonderful community event that pulls the community together,” Wilson said. “From those that decorate the trees, from those that visit the trees to the committee’s wonderful that work on it almost all year, and it’s just a way for the community to come together and it benefits those that we serve at Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry.”