United Way hosting Christmas tree contest

Submitted Photo Cattoos of Dunkirk is one of the businesses participating in United Way of Northern Chautauqua County’s Christmas tree decorating contest. To see the trees decorated by the other 14 participating businesses, visit UWNCC on Facebook.

For the first year, United Way of Northern Chautauqua County is hosting the United Community Christmas event and invites everyone to get involved. Businesses throughout the area are taking part in the event, which involves a Christmas tree decorating contest. The public’s votes, in the form of Facebook “likes,” are needed to determine the winner, who gets to choose a local human services charity with which to split the proceeds of the contest.

According to Adam Dolce, executive director of United Way of Northern Chautauqua County, the McTaggart family of Stockton wanted to give back to the community by donating several live Christmas trees from land they recently purchased. “The land they purchased included the trees, but they weren’t necessarily interested in running a tree farm,” Dolce explained. “But they wanted to do something nice for the community.”

For a $100 entry fee, local businesses and organizations got one of the donated trees to decorate and display. Dolce said that more than a dozen businesses have chosen to participate, which is even more than he expected, given the fact that this is a brand new event. “The responses from the businesses have been phenomenal,” he stated. “They’ve embraced it and gone above and beyond.”

By that, Dolce means that some of the businesses are going to be donating their decorated tree to a family in need this Christmas. Dolce said that individuals or agencies can contact United Way at 366-5424 regarding the trees that are not yet spoken for, which will be distributed to families in need on a first come, first serve basis.

Fifteen businesses or organizations are competing in the contest, and United Way, who is not competing, will also be donating a decorated tree to a family in need. The public can vote on their favorite tree by visiting United Way of Northern Chautauqua County on Facebook, where they can view the album entitled 2018 United Community Christmas and “like” the photo of their favorite tree. Participants include the following:

¯ Bahgat & Laurito-Bahgat,

¯ Can Kings (Irving),

¯ Can Kings (Fredonia),

¯ Cattoos,

¯ Client Solutions Group,

¯ Domus Fare,

¯ Fredonia Place,

¯ FSA of Fredonia,

¯ Hamlet Farms,

¯ Larry Romance and Son,

¯ Liberty Vineyards & Winery,

¯ North Chautauqua Dental,

¯ Putnam Record Insurance Agency,

¯ Quincy Cellars and

¯ Shults Resale Center of Dunkirk.

Dolce said voting will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 16 and the winner will be announced on the Facebook page on Monday, Dec. 17. The money raised from the entry fees will be split between United Way of Northern Chautauqua County and the local human services charity of the winner’s choosing.

“Right now, we’re committed to making a $1,000 pay-out to a human services agency that falls under the United Way’s umbrella,” Dolce said. “That’s our push and focus. We did send out a list of our community and affiliate partners, but we did have some businesses ask about organizations we don’t traditionally work with. We’re going to expand and let them name those charities as well, as long as they have a local impact.”

Dolce has been very pleased with the response to the event and plans to follow-up with the participating businesses to hear their thoughts. “I hope it’s feasible and that we can do it again next year,” he said. For more information, contact United Way of Northern Chautauqua County at 366-5424.