Festival of Trees provides assistance at holidays


For Good Samaritan Network founder and executive director Nancy Chance, the fundraising goal for Festival of Trees is to match or better the previous year’s total.

She understands that will be a challenge this year given the downturn in the economy. However, she said early registration numbers are strong.

The 2021 event was the best year ever for the Hamilton County nonprofit’s Festival of Trees with the largest number of sponsors and participants, grossing $79,462.57.

The ninth annual Festival of Trees is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 19 at Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel, 11925 N Meridian St., Carmel. There is an auction for the trees at the hotel. There will be an online auction and a silent auction at the hotel. The evening includes dinner and an auction featuring custom-designed themed Christmas trees, wreaths and table centerpieces, all hand-decorated by local designers specifically as fundraising pieces.

“It’s to help families over the holiday, and if there is anything left over, we put that money to client assistance,” Chance said. “The live auction was incredibly fun and very successful (in 2021) in raising nearly $24,000 alone,”

Chance said she will serve as the keynote speaker, explaining the mission of Good Samaritan Network. U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz also will be a guest speaker.

Last year’s Holiday Assistance Program served more than 46,000 people with Thanksgiving distribution of food boxes, Thanksgiving Day meals (drive-thru and delivery), Christmas distribution of food boxes and holiday toys and the delivery of 791 holiday meals for shut-ins on Christmas Eve. Good Samaritan Network’s annual Holiday Assistance budget is more than $71,000.

This countywide holiday assistance program is made possible, in part, through in-kind donations received and processed year-round to Good Samaritan Network, which is dependent upon the neighbors and residents of Hamilton County for their donation of gently used or new toys (especially for 8- to 13-year-olds) that are repurposed without cost to the residents of Hamilton County. Gently used bicycles are also welcomed and repurposed for families through the Recycled Cycles program.

Additional funds are required to handle expenses for the Holiday Assistance program, including perishable and nonperishable food.

“We try to get as many sponsorships as we can and that helps an awful lot,”Chance said. “That brings people to their tables and helps attendance.”

Sponsorships are available in multiple categories, including event sponsor, $8,000; pinnacle sponsor, $4,000; pillar sponsor, $2,000; platform sponsor, $1,000; and partner, $500.

For more, visit gsnlive.org/festival-of-trees.