Various trees were decorated and donated for the YWCA’s Festival of Trees auction. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Various trees were decorated and donated for the YWCA’s Festival of Trees auction. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – The YWCA of Van Wert County held their annual Festival of Trees on Friday. The Festival of Trees began in 2000 in partnership with Willow Bend where the event is held annually. The event is also a celebration of the YWCA through the Toast to the YWCA of Van Wert, which is held in conjunction with the Festival of Trees.

A total of five large trees, four small trees, and 20 other various items, from wreaths, hanging decor, and other festive items, were available to bid on during a silent auction. Additional items were available for a live auction.

“We are very grateful for all of the businesses and personal donors that donate these items that make the event possible,” said YWCA CEO Kimberly Laudick.

Laudick noted that the Festival of Trees is the YWCA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, and it continues to keep growing year after year. The proceeds from the event support the social services programs offered at the YWCA including youth enrichment programs, empowerment resources, permanent supportive housing, long-term domestic violence shelter and services, and sexual assault and anti-human trafficking programs.

“Our hope as an organization is that we choose to believe there is more to our future,” said Laudick. “Together, we dare to be BOLD, we dare to be POWERFUL and we dare to strengthen our movement for generations to come. This event allows the YWCA to celebrate in that moment the work we do and defines our purpose as an organization.”