Laurel non-profit cancels annual Christmas tree sale, says 2009 recession to blame

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A nationwide Christmas tree shortage is forcing a Maryland non-profit to cancel its tree sale this year.

Usually around this time of year, members of the Laurel Lions Club would be busy setting up for their biggest fundraiser – installing everything from fences, platforms and trailers – so they can start selling Christmas trees on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. But for the first time in 61 years, the organization will not be selling trees in the parking lot of the Laurel Shopping Center.

“It’s going to be very much missed,” said Darren Davis. “I can tell you that because I know families that do come over here.”

“They usually make a lot of money for charity and stuff,” said April Beroid. “It’s for a good reason. I’m sorry to hear that.”

The non-profit sent out nearly 1,000 mailers informing customers they would be canceling their largest fundraiser of the year, which will impact the local programs that count on their donations.

“We looked at the quality, we looked at the price and we could not sell them at a profit,” said Laurel Lions Club President Charles Brannan.

He says a nationwide Christmas tree shortage caused by the 2009 recession is to blame. 

“When the economy went sour, they didn’t plant enough trees to harvest them last year and this year,” said Brannan. “We will have start earlier next year if we continue to do this. Like in January almost because the vendors are selling trees really quickly. The supply is limited and the demand is up.”

All of the money the Laurel Lions Club make from their Christmas tree sales goes back into the local community, which is why they are now trying to offset the loss with other fundraisers and asking for donations this holiday season.

But they hope be back out selling trees next year.