O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Auction raises money for MARC House

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Trees filled with scratch-off tickets, decorated in tiny booze bottles, or perfectly trimmed with the most beautiful handmade and handpicked ornaments will be up for auction at the 13th annual Keys Federal Credit Union’s ReMARCable Table Top Christmas Tree Auction. The auction takes place this year on Tuesday, Nov. 28 with bidding beginning at 7 p.m. at Margaritaville Resort and Marina’s ballroom.

The fresh Fraser fir auction kicks off the holiday season as a fundraiser for The MARC House, a nonprofit that serves Monroe County’s developmentally disabled citizens.

“It’s one of the nicest events,” said MARC’s Gordon Ross. “It’s a really good-feeling night. Everyone is happy, there’s good food, and especially this year, everyone has been so crazy, that there will be a good sense of camaraderie in the room.”

Ross said he’s most looking forward to the Chief Petty Officers being involved again this year. “It’s always a great feeling when our military decorates a tree,” he said.

In addition to the trees being auctioned off, there will be wreaths (some even including a case of wine), and fudge available from Sweetest Knights, a holiday favorite.

“This year, we are going to try and send the buyers home with the trees that evening,” said Ross. “So come prepared.”

Auctioneer Tom Luna, a dear friend and longtime supporter of MARC, will be emceeing the evening.

For years, the Livingstons sponsored a tree and had someone else decorate it, but now Cyndi and her sister Cheryl put the time and effort into trimming the tree. “It really puts you in the spirit every year,” said Cyndi. “I used to work with a developmentally disabled program in Ohio, and it’s a great fundraiser for MARC House. I have a special spot in my heart for special needs kids and adults.”

According to Ross, at least $100,000 has been raised by this auction during the past 13 years. And, this year, thanks to Irma, they need the help more than ever. “One of the buildings lost the roof and was condemned – and evacuating 45 ReMARCable citizens and staff during the storm incurred a lot of extra expenses,” said Ross.

Even with the hurricane setback, Ross said the nonprofit is incredibly fortunate to have friends in the community to help raise funds, like Keys Federal and Margaritaville Resort.

The doors open at 5 p.m. and there is a suggested $10 donation, which includes complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. Parking in the Margaritaville Resort parking garage will be comped for those attending.

It’s not too late to sponsor a tree

Tree sponsorships are $100 to decorate a tree or $250 to have a tree decorated. If interested, call 305-294-9526, ext. 25 by the end of this week.

Cyndi and Howard Livingston have been sponsoring trees for the event for seven years. This year, Cyndi and her sister Cheryl will trim a “Sugarplums dancing in our heads” theme thanks to their “hurricane” brain this year. CONTRIBUTED

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