Every year, the Thornton Lions set up an enclosure in the parking lot of Thornton Crossing Plaza — south of Barrie at the corner of County Road 27 and Innisfil Beach Road — to sell pre-cut Christmas trees.
It's a local tradition, with all of the proceeds from tree sales going to the Thornton Community Food Bank.
But this year has posed special challenges. Not only are the trees in short supply, “prices have gone up,” said Lion Joan Jay, taking her turn at handling tree sales for the club.
“We had to put the price up to $50, and even at that we’re only making $3 to $4 per tree.”
In fact, there was some debate initially as to whether it was worth the effort, with such a low profit margin. But with the food bank gratefully accepting donations at this time of year, and local families relying on the Lions to provide a tree at a reasonable cost.
“If it’s a choice between $3 a tree and nothing, there’s no choice,” said Jay.
Business has been brisk since sales began, and the number of trees available – including pine and balsam fir – has been rapidly dwindling. It looks as if the Lions will sell out quickly.
“We’re happy to be here again,” Jay said. “This year, we’ve had so many families come by,” eager to maintain a Thornton tradition and support both the Lions and the food bank.
“People have been more than generous,” she said, often giving a little extra, in the spirit of Christmas, to help those in the community who are in need.