Love INC. to host second Christmas Tree Forest event
WORTHINGTON -- As the holiday shopping season kicks off and lines form in stores, Love In the Name of Christ is hoping to bring people together for a different reason.
From 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Love INC will host its second Christmas Tree Forest at the First United Methodist Church, Worthington. Overhead lights will be turned off and luminaries will be lit at 6 p.m. daily.
The Christmas Tree Forest has become a yearly Love INC fundraiser and features an assortment of themed Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and organizations. The event is free to the public, and visitors are invited to vote on their favorite tree through free-will donations.
According to Brian Frodermann, executive director of Love INC, the Christmas Tree Forest is a community event that everyone can enjoy. This year, hours have been extended to accommodate a wider audience.
"We wanted to create an event that anyone, regardless of age or background, can come to and have fun at," he said.
Last year, 24 businesses participated with more than 435 visitors. There will be 30 participating businesses this week, and Frodermann is expecting an even larger crowd.
"We are hoping many people will come out and start the holiday season with us," he said.
Love INC has seen great support from local businesses, said Frodermann, who believes it is a great way for businesses to help families in the community. Businesses also have the option to donate their decorated tree to families in need, he added.
All proceeds will help local families through the ministry of Love INC, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans will give a matching grant of up to $550. There will be live and recorded music playing, and Thrivent Financial will also provide hot cider and refreshments.
Love INC., established in Worthington in 2010, is a ministry of 17 local churches that work together to provide coordinated help to local neighbors in need.
Through Love INC's helpline, community members are connected with resources such as food, clothing, life skills training and transitional housing programs.
Love INC also identifies gaps in available services within the communities and works with partner churches to create new ministries to fill those gaps.
Love INC is largely volunteer-based and has more than 190 volunteers currently in its database.
"We appreciate the wonderful support and involvement that Love INC has had from the community so far, and we are looking forward to continuing to grow those relationships," Frodermann said.
Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.