On Friday, Dec. 2, a group of volunteers gathered at the Marsh Landing Country Club to carry on a tradition of brightening the holidays for patients in hospice care.
The loose affiliation of ladies, many but not all residents of Marsh Landing, decorated about 60 two-foot Christmas trees in a variety of styles. After all the decorating was finished, the trees were donated to two hospices: Community Hospice & Palliative Care and Haven Hospice. Representatives of those organizations then took the trees to those under their care to be placed on patients’ night tables. The Community Hospice trees went to the inpatient center at the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s something the patients and the families appreciate,” said Maryann Imbriani, a member of the Hospice Tree Project Committee.
It’s also something that the volunteers look forward to each year.
“It’s a wonderful project to be associated with,” said Imbriani. “When I first sent out the ‘save-the-date,’ they started reserving trees and telling me how happy they are that the project continues.”
The project was begun many years ago by the Marsh Landing Garden Club, but today the tradition is carried on by volunteers from the community. Marsh Landing provides the space they use, as well as a buffet for the volunteers.
Helping Imbriani with the logistics of the project were Karen Wilson and Peggy Lehman, who has been involved for the past 15 years, beginning with her membership in the garden club.
“I’ve loved watching it grow,” said Lehman. “We’ve gone from, say, 24 trees to over 60. It’s just very rewarding.”
The trees were especially appreciated during the pandemic, when patients had no visitors. But even in regular times, these bright, cheerful little trees are a high spot for the patients, said Sandra Francis of Haven Hospice.
“It means that somebody cares,” said Francis. “Some of the patients are in facilities and they have very little interaction. So, to get a tree that somebody made for them is just a great gift.”