Baseball, turtle, superhero-themed holiday trees for a cause? You bet


Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center is holding a silent auction for the 20, four-foot, pre-lit trees.

The proceeds benefit Place of Hope, a Palm Beach Gardens non-profit that finds homes for foster children.

A festive, holiday tree-decorating contest is making the season brighter for hundreds of children who are spending it away from their families.

RELATED: Villages of Hope gives former foster kids a future

Step into the lobby of Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, and you’ll be surrounded by 20 Christmas trees and Hanukkah bushes that would make Martha Stewart proud. The hospital staff and volunteers from community organizations decked out the 4-foot, pre-lit trees with everything from lottery tickets to Matchbox cars to superheroes.

RELATED: Foster care nonprofit building $4.6 million outreach center on Northlake

People have already started bidding on the trees in a silent auction, pledging more than $100 for some. Bidding starts at $50 per tree.

The money will go to Place of Hope, a Palm Beach Gardens nonprofit, so that foster children can get the full holiday experience in a family-style setting.

The faith-based organization places children in both family-style foster care cottages on its campuses and in traditional foster homes. Young adults who have aged out of the traditional foster care system can stay in Place of Hope’s Villages of Hope duplexes and learn to live on their own.

The silent auction will continue through Monday. A holiday party at the hospital starts at 6 p.m. All are welcome.

Hospital CEO Dianne Goldenberg said the decorating was a “big spirit-booster.” The staff got competitive, too.

“Everybody was kind of keeping their theme a secret, not telling anybody,” she said.

A hospital’s environment affects people’s sense of well-being. They do better when they feel it’s a place of healing, and the cheery trees help promote that, Goldenberg said.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s tree is obvious when you see a coastal-chic tree covered in turtle ornaments. Roger Dean Stadium sprinkled its tree with baseballs, baseball cards and other swag.

Joshua Kolkana, director of Place of Hope’s Homes of Hope and Villages of Hope, said the time off from school between holidays allows children and young adults in Place of Hope’s care to spend more time with their house parents and each other.

They may go bowling, to the movies or to other activities that help them develop relationships, he said. Anything experiential changes whether they feel loved and cared for, he said.

Community partners buy gifts on a registry, but money from the tree auction and gift cards help fill in the gaps, he said. Place of Hope may get a new child or sibling group a day or two before Christmas who will get gifts, too, he said.

Someone donated real Christmas trees for each of Place of Hope’s cottages that the children and their foster parents decorated together Thanksgiving night or weekend, Kolkana said.

“That’s the first time a lot of our kids have ever done something like that as a family,” he said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Drone saves 2 swimmers at Australian beach
Drone saves 2 swimmers at Australian beach

The Little Ripper turned out to be a lifesaver for two Australian swimmers caught in churning surf. Australian lifeguards were testing a new drone during a practice session at a beach in New South Wales when they received a call about two swimmers caught in 10-foot swells, according to Surf Life Saving New South Wales and The New York Times...
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in South Florida
Rapper Kodak Black arrested in South Florida

Rapper Kodak Black was arrested Thursday in South Florida, accused of grand theft of a firearm, possession of marijuana and child neglect, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. Black, 20, whose legal name is Dieuson Octave, also faces two counts of possession of a weapon by a felon and two counts of probation violation, the Sheriff&rsquo...
JUST IN: Crash on northbound I-95 closes several lanes near Jupiter
JUST IN: Crash on northbound I-95 closes several lanes near Jupiter

A crash has closed several lanes of traffic on northbound Interstate-95 near Jupiter Thursday night, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue. A crash just north of Indiantown Road has closed several lanes of the interstate as trauma helicopters are responding to the scene, according to authorities. Fire rescue officials said to “avoid area...
Nouman Raja files ‘Stand Your Ground’ claim in Corey Jones shooting
Nouman Raja files ‘Stand Your Ground’ claim in Corey Jones shooting

Calling it “a classic case of self-defense,” lawyers for former Palm Beach Gardens Officer Nouman Raja are asking a judge to dismiss manslaughter and attempted murder charges against him for the October 2015 shooting death of 31-year-old stranded motorist Corey Jones. Raja’s lawyers in court documents filed Thursday are asking...
State senate revamps sex harassment rules

The Florida Senate released a revamped sexual harassment policy Thursday, after sex scandals rocked the chamber and led to the resignations of two prominent senators. Former Sen. Jack Latvala announced his resignation this past month following the release of an investigative report that recommended a criminal probe into allegations the Clearwater Republican...
More Stories