Festival of Trees raises $6K for United Way of Naugatuck

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NAUGATUCK — Eighty-two plastic evergreens brought a festive air to a normally mundane building last week.

United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls hosted its annual Festival of Trees at the Naugatuck Savings Bank Dec. 6-9. Local businesses, organizations, and individuals donated and decorated the trees, each with its own theme.

The festival is a fundraiser for the United Way. The United Way auctioned off 29 of the trees Dec. 3 and saved the rest for a raffle Dec. 9.

The most popular trees in the raffle were a pair with gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.

The festival brought in over $6,000, which will go towards reaching the United Way’s campaign’s overall goal of $415,000.

The money raised from the event will go to the United Way, which disperses its funds to community agencies such as the YMCA, Family Services of Waterbury, and the Salvation Army.

“It’s great because all the money stays right in the community,” said Laurie Yelding, co-chair of the festival.

Santa lends his ear at Naugatuck Savings Bank

Christmas isn’t just a holiday for the wealthy. Santa brings toys to the homeless as well. Dan Whitman, also known as Santa, collects toys and toiletries for the Saint Vincent DePaul Homeless Shelter in Waterbury. Whitman bought over 100 items himself to donate to the shelter.

Whitman said he likes to find people who are down and out and give them small gift cards with hand-written notes as a pick-me-up. For $5, Whitman says the service is a bargain when he sees the reaction from recipients.

The thin man in a stuffed red suit and white beard lent his ear to the children of Naugatuck Dec. 8 at the Naugatuck Savings Bank.