For nine years, from 2010 to 2018, the Knights of Monsignor Schuyler Council 1333 in West Chester, Pa., conducted a Christmas tree sale for the benefit of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) programs at St. Agnes School. Parishioners and school families were invited to place orders for fresh-cut Christmas trees and wreaths from a Pennsylvania tree farm, and on a given day in mid-December the Knights would make the items available for pickup.
This past fall, however, the Knights lost their tree supplier, and with regrets they had to announce there would be no Council 1333 tree sale in 2019.
That’s when a fellow St. Agnes parishioner and brother Knight named Bill DelVescovo stepped up to the plate. He just happened to run a Christmas tree stand out of nearby Exton and said he would share with the CYO the proceeds from any tree sold to a buyer who mentions St. Agnes School at the time of purchase.
DelVescovo’s stand, B&B Christmas Trees, opened on Black Friday and brought in new fresh-cut trees throughout December “so you have a lot of flexibility in getting your tree when you want,” explained GK Joe Dugan, who also co-chairs the annual tree sale.
Larger trees of 10-feet-tall and higher could also be special ordered from the supplier through B&B.
For the sake of convenience, he added, the council made available coupons with more information about the sale “so that you can print off and bring with you to help ensure that St. Agnes CYO is recognized during your purchase.”
Another convenience offered by the council by special arrangement was a home-delivery option for families living in the West Chester area.
The annual tree sale is just one of many ways Council 1333 and its 400-plus registered members assist St. Agnes School, the parish, and the wider community. In early December, for example, the Knights manned the kitchen and hall for the annual “Breakfast with Santa.” Another is the St. Agnes Day Room, which provides hospitality for the poor and homeless of the West Chester area. Local pro-life organizations are another major focus of the council’s charitable efforts.
“Our members give back well over 8,000 service hours annually to our community and directly raise over $25,000 per year to support many charitable causes, with a focus on those within our St. Agnes and West Chester communities,” Dugan said.
But the tree sale has long proven to be a popular way for giving a boost to the CYO programs at St. Agnes School. The CYO is a Catholic youth ministry that offers opportunities for children to develop their relationship with God and integrate the Catholic faith into their lives through spiritual, social, service and athletic programs.
“Our annual Christmas tree sale has been a tremendous success for our council and the CYO,” Dugan said. “We were able to provide the CYO with some $15,000 over the past nine years of running it.”
People support the tree sale because “they know that you’re helping us and the youth of our parish,” he added.
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