The large lot on the corner of Elm and Walnut Streets in Westfield was once again a busy thoroughfare on Sunday, December 7, as 19 Master Gardeners helped unload of 435 Fraser Fir Christmas trees for the Westfield Area Y Men’s Club.  The trees were being delivered for the club's 61st ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH SALE, which runs through Tuesday, December 23rd.  Master Gardeners T.J. Karns and KennyI were on hand to take photos. The event was organized for the 8th year by Ms. Karns.

Karns, who chairs Grants and Publicity for the Master Gardeners of Union County, started this annual tree unloading event in 2007 as a way to give back to the club for generous grants. She notes that "both our Master Gardeners and the Y’s Men are volunteer groups whose mission is community service. Since their start-up in 1953, the Westfield Area Y Men’s Club has given more than $2M to local youth and community service groups, including the MGs. Likewise, says Karns, “Master Gardeners raise food to help feed the hungry in Union County.  Since 2002, we have cultivated and donated 23,850 lbs. of vegetables, fruit and herbs to local soup kitchens and food pantries.”

According to Steve Suriano, VP and Trustee of the Westfield Area Y Men’s Club, the club sells about 1200 trees per year.   In 2013, they donated approximately $40,000 of their net proceeds to about 30 local and charities, including Children’s Specialized Hospital (Mountainside).  They also use sale dollars to sponsor needy summer campers at Camp Speers-Eljabar YMCA in Dingmans Ferry, PA.

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Hours for the Y’s Men’s 61st ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AND WREATH SALE are: Monday-Friday, 5 to-9pm, and Saturday-Sunday, 9am to 6pm, through-December 23rd.  

In addition to the North Carolina Fraser Firs, the sale features Nova Scotia Balsams and Pennsylvania Douglas Firs plus wreaths, roping, and user friendly tree stands for one-stop shopping.  All trees are given a fresh cut to take water.  Branches are trimmed at customer request, prior to drilling a hole in the trunk for the tree stand.  The tree is then baled and loaded on the customer’s vehicle. 

The Westfield Area Y Men’s Club is a New Jersey Non-profit and recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  For more information on the club, please contact Brian Duggan at (908) 232-6930 or dugganb@ymail.com.  The club is always on the lookout for new members.

The Master Gardeners of Union County are headquartered in Westfield at 300 North Avenue East.  They cultivate Demonstration Gardens at Trailside in the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside.  To become a Master Gardener, contact Judi LaGanga, Rutgers Cooperative Extension at (908) 654-9854, or visit mastergardeners-uc.org/ on the Web.