An annual holiday event was noticeably absent again in the run-up to Thanksgiving week.
The Festival of Trees in Jacksonville was not held again this year. The annual event has been hosted as a fundraiser by Pathway Services Unlimited since 2017.
For the first 28 years, the Festival of Trees was operated by the Woodhaven Hospice at the Masonic Temple. Following the closing of Woodhaven, Pathway resurrected the event with the proceeds going to ‘Pathway Partners’ which directly benefits Pathway’s served, individuals.
Maryjane Million, Executive Director at Pathway says out of precaution for the health and safety of Pathway’s served individuals, the festival had to be called off due to the lingering cases of COVID-19 heading into the fall season.
Million says Pathway does plan to bring the festival back next year with the hope that things are closer to normal next fall. In the meantime, Pathway is planning a replacement event to continue funding for its residents.
“All of the proceeds raised at this event have benefited our individuals with developmental disabilities. These individuals don’t always have enough funding to cover all of their needs. And so we have been able to in the past utilize the funds from the Festival of Trees. Since we cannot do that this year we are going to have a fundraising campaign.”
Million says there is a continued need for support for the 76 individuals cared for by Pathway. She says this year there is a need for help maintaining the way residents are able to travel.
“We have a number of vehicles that are required for us to use to transport our individuals whether it be to medical appointments or to go on outings in the community allowing them to engage in activities and enjoy some socialization. The good news is these vans allow even those with very challenging mobility to be able to go out into the community. The downside is the vans cost eighty-five thousand dollars each.
So as you can imagine, this is something we could really benefit from if the donors who had so generously contributed to the Festival of Trees in the past or would just like to for the first time this year, we would be grateful for any donations to come in for our individuals to go out into the community.”
To make a donation to Pathway Services Unlimited, call 217-479-2300 to pay by credit or debit card, or donate online by going to www.pathwayservices.org. Checks can be mailed to Pathway Services, 1905 West Morton Avenue, Jacksonville Illinois, 62650.
Although the Festival of Trees is not happening this year, the set up of the giant reindeer started on Tuesday afternoon.