Swannanoa – The businesses of Black Mountain and Swannanoa are once again “Decking the Trees” as a benefit to the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry Fuel Fund. This benefit started on Thursday, December 2 and will run until January 4th, 2022. Forty-five imaginatively decorated Christmas trees are located at the Monte Vista Boutique Hotel and in stores throughout the area. Various organizations and businesses, including the Girl Scout Troop #02498, the Black Mountain Fire Department, and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, are all supporting this benefit to help those in need of help to pay for oil, electricity, natural gas, and propane. This event has raised more than $150,000 since its debut in 2010. For a small town of just over 8,000 people that is a remarkable sum. Last year, knowing that the need would be even greater for many suffering during the pandemic, the volunteers behind Deck the Trees worked extra hard and were able to raise $36,000.
The Monte Vista Boutique Hotel at 208 West State Street in Black Mountain has been a sponsor of this event for many years. This year their lobby and hallways are filled with the Christmas spirit of giving—with 21 trees for visitors to see. As you walk around the hotel, perhaps you will be tempted to sign up for their Candlelight Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. These gourmet prix-fixe meals need reservations.
An additional 24 trees can be viewed throughout Swannanoa Valley. Local businesses that are participating including Kilwin’s Fudge and Ice Cream, Tyson Furniture, Mellie Mac’s Garden Shack, Herschel’s and Sunshine Pharmacy.
This year’s theme, a Black Mountain Christmas, inspired a wide variety of creative interpretations. Black Mountain Savings Bank, Tyson Furniture and Herschel’s have trees which reflect the nostalgia of the holiday in the town. The Old Depot focuses on the history of its building, which was the heart of Black Mountain during the height of railroad travel. Other entries, such as Mellie Mac’s Garden Shack, highlight the natural wonders of the region.
Each decorated Christmas tree has a donation box next to it, where, as you donate to the Fuel Fund, you can cast a vote on your favorite tree. As you walk about the Monte Vista Hotel and do your Christmas shopping in town, you will find a wide variety of decorations and themes. By driving a little further west, you can see trees decorated for this fund raiser at the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Dealership and on US Highway 70, such as at Lap and Naps for senior cats, Village Nails and Select Physical Therapy. As you help those who are in need, you are also partaking in the Christian spirit of giving at Christmas.
The Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry
The SVCM is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, eligible to receive funds from individuals, businesses, and foundations. The organization has a number of programs to help those struggling to heat their home through the winter. There is a homeless outreach, Hope for Tomorrow which supports homeless children and their mothers, a Johnny Raines Christmas Cheer program, a Renae Brame Scholarship Program, as well as a food pantry and a clothes closet.
The “client choice” food pantry due to the pandemic cannot allow clients to come in the building. For food they call in and a volunteer or staff member takes their food order from our daily food list of available items. A volunteer fills a shopping cart with their desired food items. Clients can come every 21 days for food. The exception is free produce which they are eligible to receive daily. SVCM distributes TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) to all eligible clients. The Clothes Closet has men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing as well as shoes. Clients can come every 21 days. They can choose a limited number of each item for every person in the home. Household items, such as sheets, blankets, and kitchenware are available as well.
This year’s Deck the Trees event has many sponsors with Sue Conlon and Barney Fitzpatrick as Founding Sponsors. Platinum sponsors are Givens Highland Farms, Mark Kleive, and Cheryl Keefer Fine Art. Every donation helps the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry in their effort to help the community. In addition to voting in person. One can vote online by going to svcmblackmountain.org/deckthetrees. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, no Gala was able to be held, to celebrate the start of Deck The Trees. The Deck The Trees Committee is waiting to decide if a community celebration party will be on January 4. This event will announce the Community Tree and the Monte Vista Tree that has raised the most money for the Fuel Fund as well as to announce the Community Tree and the Monte Vista Tree that most represent the theme. The Black Mountain community is truly the winner of the talents of the gifted tree creators.