Holiday Trees of Hope to financially help local charities

Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Rivers Casino and Resort’s Landing Hotel. For the first time ever, Holiday Trees of Hope are on display, each tree representing an organization in Schenectady.

“Each charity has decorated their tree in a way that represents their mission to really tell their story, and talks about the services they provide,” explained Marissa Riggi, Rivers Casino and Resort Community Relations Manager. “So it’s really unique to see the creativity that was brought on by these 15 charitable organizations.”

Throughout the month, visitors will be able to vote on their favorite decorated tree, all while financially helping charities in the Schenectady community.

“We have 2 different levels of donation,” said Riggi. “You can purchase these wonderful tokens at the amount of $1 or $5 and drop them into the mailboxes next to those charitable trees. And each vote towards that tree is actually a donation to their organization.”

One of the organizations taking part in this event is Habitat for Humanity. This year, volunteers have been working hard to build homes for five different families—even building a home for their Holiday Tree of Hope.

“Our homes are built by volunteers,” stated Madelyn Thorne, Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County. “But we need to pay for lumber, nails, appliances—all of the other construction materials. The generous donations will help us keep our mission going forward and buy the construction materials we need to buy.”

While the pandemic has been hard on everyone, it’s been especially difficult for Proctors Collaborative—since theater doors have been closed since the start of the pandemic.

“It certainly is hard on us emotionally not being able to open our building to people. Not being able to continue the economic sustainability of the arts in the community. And on top of that, it’s hard to just see arts being on hold in general,” said Grace Janiszewski, Proctors Collaborative Creative Workforce Director.

She said the money that is donated, will go towards helping virtual art education programs and when possible, in-person programming.

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