By John Burton
LITTLE SILVER – It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Those who need a bit more evidence just have to look at all the activity at the Little Silver volunteer firehouse, as department members race around helping people select, cut and wrap Christmas trees.
The Little Silver Fire Company has been selling trees and wreaths at its firehouse, 543 Prospect Ave., for more than 32 holiday seasons. It’s the department’s largest annual fundraiser.
Each year the department brings in about 1,100 trees of various heights and an equal number of wreaths – “and they go,” every year, said Jim Jiminaro, the fire company’s president.
Department members and some family members volunteer each year along with members of the borough’s first aid squad.
“It’s like family day here,” said Dan McGuire, a department member who is also the cochair of the wreath committee. Last weekend he pointed out the many department personnel with family members that were on hand to help with families milling around searching for the perfect Christmas tree for their home.
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” McGuire said. “I try to teach my kids you get from the community, you have to give back to the community.”
The department gets its trees from a farm in the Allentown, Pa., area. The trees range in size from tabletop up to 12 to15 feet and cost from $30 to $200, a range for every size home and pocketbook, McGuire said.
McGuire, Jiminaro and all department members on hand were wearing bright red baseball caps with kelly green “LSFD” embroidered on the front.
Michelle Welsh, a first aid squad member, was working at the sale for the first time. “Our trees are fresh, like our men,” she said with a smile and then added, “There are no complaints about our trees…or our men.”
“It’s like homecoming,” Jiminaro said about the sale that brings friends and neighbors out. “Some people I knew in high school.”
What the sale and the fire department members offer that shoppers might not necessarily find elsewhere, is a willingness to do just about anything their customers need. All customers have to do is point to the tree they want and the volunteers do the rest – from hauling it and wrapping it to lashing it to the roof of a vehicle. “You can show up here after church on Sunday, in your nice coat and not get a pine needle on it,” McGuire said.
Borough resident Jill Ryan needed help last Saturday. She was towing around her twin 4-year-olds, Payton and Lindsey, searching for a tree. “We need a tall one, because the room’s ceiling is pretty tall,” she said.
She selected one that her young daughters liked. “They’re pretty excited to get the tree,” Ryan said.
“I come here because it can be quick,” she said as her tree was being prepared for the ride home.
The fire company tree sale will continue until Friday, Dec. 20. The hours are: 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekends.