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Optimist tree sales benefit community

Lynn Haen
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / South Tahoe Optimist Club members present a check for $2,000 to Tahoe Turning Point for its help with the service club's annual Christmas tree sales. The Christmas tree lot will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Lakeview Avenue.
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It’s been 37 years since the South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club started selling Christmas trees in our community. There are lots of stories about all the Optimist Club members and their adventures in the Christmas tree business throughout the years.

Ben Kunibe, the ultimate Optimist, has been a member since the South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club first formed. He was there when the club first sold trees at the Nevada Lumber Company in 1968, and you can still find him selling Christmas trees, wreaths and mistletoe at the Christmas tree lot at the corner of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Lakeview Avenue.

In the early years, club members went out into the forest and cut many of the trees that were sold. There are lots of pictures of the “Optimist Lumberjacks” inside the trailer at the lot. Many of our members have moved on, but it’s fun to come down and look at all the old photos and the many faces from our community who have been involved since the beginning.

“It’s all for the kids and it’s really lots of fun,” Kunibe said.

The Optimists have free popcorn and hot chocolate for the kids as the families roam through the rows, searching for their “perfect” tree. Club members volunteer their time and energy to sell trees and keep the popcorn and chocolate coming. The net proceeds are given back to the community for youth organizations and youth programs.

Some of our volunteers are members of youth organizations that the Optimist Club has supported during the years. We encourage the youth groups to participate in the fundraising from which they benefit. One such group is Tahoe Turning Point. These young men have been very supportive for the past several years and really put some effort and muscle into helping “move the trees.”

The Optimist Club has something for everyone who wants to give back to the community. We do many fun events throughout the years. We realize not all members are able to help at every event. This club welcomes new members who want to share in helping all the children succeed and become responsible, well rounded citizens from our community. If you are interested in learning more about the Optimist Club pick up a brochure at the Optimist Club Christmas tree lot of contact Terry Powers at (530) 544-5025.

WHO: South Lake Tahoe Optimist Club

WHAT: Christmas tree sales

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until all trees are sold.

WHERE: Corner of Lake Tahoe Boulevard and Lakeview Avenue.


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