For more than 40 years, the Optimists Club has helped Baldwinsville families celebrate Christmas and this year will be no different.
The club's annual fundraiser, a Christmas tree sale, is underway next to Rite Aid (formerly Eckerd's) in the Tri-County Mall, a convenient location for many residents of greater Baldwinsville.
"The trees came from Sterling this year and are beautiful," said Ronald Rumpf, an Optimist. "We have three kinds: Douglass Fir, Balsum Fir and a few White Spruce and are they priced to sell quickly."
Through Dec. 16, the trees will be for sale from noon to 9 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekends. The trees are pre-cut and ready to take home. Whether rain, snow or sunshine, the dedicated club members will be on hand to help customers choose the perfect tree for their home.
According to former club president Ralph Atwater, the sale began in 1966 to help fund activities organized by the Optimist Club. Today, those activities include the annual village Halloween window-painting event, bicycle safety, the Optimist student of the month, Community Scholarship Foundation and Pack 289 Sponsorship.
With the number of sponsored activities, Rumpf noted how the Baldwinsville community has helped make it all happen.
"The community is incredibly supportive," he said. "A few years back, we got into some, how should I say, less than perfect trees and people still showed their support by purchasing these Charlie Brown specials. I think a lot that goes into the heart of a Christmas tree is the decorations and the personal touch of transforming them into beautiful holiday displays and by buying an Optimists tree, you are further helping your community."
Rumpf said 100 percent of the proceeds from the tree sale go back into the Baldwinsville community including savings bonds for the student of the month, supplies for the window-painting and the Syracuse Home Halloween night.
"Our main objective is to be friends of youth and community, but it goes further than that," he said. "Being an Optimist is a state of mind."