CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- HospiceCare launched its 30th anniversary Love Light Tree season Nov. 29 at Charleston Town Center Mall.
Each year, thousands of donors hang ornaments in honor or memory of loved ones who have died or are have been hospice patients.
In less than a month, the four bare Christmas trees at the mall will overflow with handwritten ornaments from the community, which has helped raise more than $1 million through the Love Light Tree in the past three decades.
The Love Light Tree is biggest fundraiser of the year for HospiceCare, bringing in about $80,000 annually to benefit hospice patients and their families. The campaign also involves more than 300 volunteers from two dozen community groups and churches throughout the greater Kanawha Valley.
HospiceCare began 35 years ago as an all-volunteer effort with about a dozen concerned citizens getting together to help seven patients in need in 1979.
HospiceCare now serves more than 2,500 patients and their families annually, with a staff of 300 professional doctors, nurses, social workers, counselors, chaplains and administrative employees in 16 counties in south-central West Virginia, with a team of more than 300 volunteers.
The Love Light trees will be up during mall hours through Dec. 23 and at 12 bank locations in Lewisburg and in the lobby of the HospiceCare office in Boone County, 467 Main St., Madison.
In addition to the hundreds of volunteers who staff the trees at the mall, 31 hospice volunteers prepared 8,000 pieces of mail to distribute ornaments to supporters that were sent out this past week.