Helping Hands Festival of Trees a win-win for tree decorators, community

Helping Hands Festival of Trees a win-win for tree decorators, community
Expressions Home Décor & Custom Florals designed this gorgeous tree, which earned the Judges Award at the 2012 Festival of Trees.

(December 9, 2012) It was a magical, fun night at the 2012 Helping Hands Festival of Trees as more than 360 people came together in the spirit of this wonderful holiday season for a common cause – the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate of our community.

The November 30 annual event at the Hilton Dallas Rockwall Lakefront benefited Rockwall County Helping Hands – a nonprofit agency that helps keep families in crisis in their homes with the utilities on and nutritious food on their tables, and its Health Center offers basic affordable medical care for the uninsured and underinsured.

Dr. Barbara Fowler was the lucky Willis Fine Jewelry raffle winner. Dr. Fowler is a member of the Rockwall-Heath Early Childhood PTA, the group that won, for the third year in a row, the People's Choice Award for their Christmas tree entry.

“Our efforts were successful because this community supported us,” said Margo Nielsen, Helping Hands Executive Director. “We thank you all. Your generosity allows us to continue our mission of serving Rockwall residents in critical need.”

This stunning tree designed by the 2011 Festival of Trees award winner Bella's House earned the award for "Most Traditional" at this year's festival.

Highlighting the evening was the more than 20 decorated Christmas trees donated by local businesses and organizations that people bid on to showcase in their homes. From elegant to whimsical, the one-of-a-kind trees combined with a visit from Santa Claus created a beautiful holiday setting.

A special treat was an area set aside for the popular Boutique of Helping Hands, a high-end thrift store that sells the best of the best donated merchandise at low prices. From a large Mark Roberts fairy to lovely jewelry and unique toys, the special one-day store was a big hit with attendees.

The sell-out dinner gala also included a live auction by Bart Davenport with amazing packages ranging from a Holiday Honey-Do Package to the evening’s most popular item –The Beach is Calling donated by Heath Mayor and Helping Hands Board of Directors Chairman Lorne Liechty and his wife Mary. The one-week vacation in their lovely penthouse condo in Siesta Key brought the top bid, so the generous couple added a second week vacation for the same bid price!

The evening was made complete with the raffle of an exquisite piece of jewelry donated by Willis Jewelers, the sale of original holiday centerpieces that adorned each table and a Christmas Jazz performance by Mike McGill, Michael Jones, Sam Garner, Kaan Toy and Johnathan Hobbs.

Tree decorator winners 


Rockwall-Heath Early Childhood PTA


Expressions Home Décor & Custom Florals


Bella’s House


Farmer’s Electric


Rockwall-Heath High School Cheerleaders

Helping Hands Toy Drive 

Now Helping Hands is working on collecting toys and gift cards so Rockwall children in need will have a good Christmas.

“Please remember to donate a new and unwrapped toy or gift cards for teenagers to the Helping Hands Toy Drive so we can share the magic of Christmas,” said Nielsen. “Collection bins are located in several local businesses, or you can bring them to the Helping Hands campus at 905 Williams St.”

Last year, Helping Hands provided 1,229 children (ages 0 to 16) from 495 families with at least three new toys – and we hope to keep that tradition going and growing this year.

Generous sponsors

Festival of Trees was made possible by our sponsors, including: Alliance Bank; American National Bank of Texas; Baker’s Ribs; Ebby Halliday, Farmer’s Electric Cooperative; The Fulton School; Jorden, Houser and Flournoy, LLP; Law Office of Kim Timpa, P.C.; Lee Gilbert & Friends; Margo Nielsen; MidSouth Bank; Oncor; NCL Supernovas; Texas Health Presbyterian Rockwall; and Toyota of Rockwall.

Also, Hilton Bella Harbor; TrendHR; Community Bank; Willis Fine Jewelry; Living; Liechty & McGinnis; Lake Pointe Medical Center; and Atmos Energy.

Please call 972-771-HELP (4357) for more information about Helping Hands.

Submitted by Judy Evans.

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