Tree toss for charity
The parking lot at More Miles Automotive on Stefko Boulevard in Bethlehem was alive with Christmas spirit Dec. 16 during the annual Christmas Tree Toss for Charity. Holiday music played in the background as participants competed to see who could throw the tree the furthest, all while raising money for Turning Point, a place that offers safety and services to victims of domestic abuse.
Although the tree toss has been an annual occurrence, it was recently renamed the Peter Kearns Memorial Christmas Tree Toss in memory of Kearns, one of the men responsible for starting the tradition, who passed away in 2016.
“Many years ago, I was the manager of Strauss Auto and Pete Kearns, who owned the Meineke at the time, challenged us to an event to see whose team of mechanics could throw a tree the furthest, and we decided that we would each donate some money to Turning Point. I believe that was around 2000, the first year we did that,” said More Miles Automotive manager Michael DeCrosta. “A lot of people showed up, we had a lot of fun and it felt really good and so it’s something we continued to do throughout the years.”
At this year’s event, held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., people of all sorts came out to participate. Competitors included adults and children, police officers, members of Kearns’ family and the executive director of Turning Point, among others. The gathered crowd even managed to convince the postal worker stopping to deliver the shop’s mail to join in the festivities and toss the tree.
“It’s for a good cause, all of the money goes to charity,” said Bethlehem police officer Josh Hobson. “It’s a good thing, [it] brings everybody together and it’s a good time.”
Turning Point Executive Director Lori Sywensky shared similar sentiments.
“This is my second year coming to this, and I had to come back after I came last year. It’s such a great event, this is awesome,” she said. “[Turning Point] serve[s] over 2,600 people a year, so it’s great but it’s expensive, so we really depend on community support. When we find creative ways for people to come out and help raise some money and do something fun and get to know about us a little bit, we love it.”
At the conclusion of the event, Bill Aldelo was named the male winner with a distance of 31’1” and Lily McFadden was named the female winner with a distance of 17’11”. The amount of money raised for Turning Point totaled $1,110.
“[The event] has actually been more successful in the recent years, every year a little more successful than in the past years … We’re trying to grow it every year in the same manner that Pete did,” DeCrosta said. “We continue this event in remembrance of Pete and in our continued support to Turning Point.”