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Festival Of Trees Moves To Hybrid Format At Eastland Mall

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The Baby Fold has been serving children and families since 1902, throughout 28 counties in Central Illinois.

The time of giving is upon us, and this year the pandemic has caused local families to need even more support. That’s why The Baby Fold is moving ahead with a hybrid version of its annual Festival of Trees fundraiser, using a new auction website that allows supporters to browse, bid, and buy items safely.

“We are just encouraging the community to support us in the safest way possible,” said Coordinator of Development Operations Jessica Shaw. “This year we are showcasing an online, mobile bidding software, which we are hoping will make it easy and more convenient for this community to participate in our silent auction.”

For this year’s hybrid Festival of Trees, the beautiful trees and decor will be on display in a walk-through pop-up Christmas showcase store Nov. 16-21 at Eastland Mall in Bloomington.

The auction closes at 8 p.m. Nov. 21. Auction winners will receive an email and text message after the auction closes. Curbside or walk-in pickup will be available from noon-6 p.m. Nov. 22 at the mall.

The money raised supports programming at The Baby Fold, including adoption support, foster care, early childhood intervention, special education and autism services.

“Giving really ebbs and flows. We have gotten great support from businesses and mostly individuals who understand and have a heart for the programs and services The Baby Fold provides,” said Shaw.

Giving looks a little different this year for the Festival of Trees. Shaw said some of the different ways of giving this year include sharing Facebook posts or giving in-kind gifts rather than cash.

“We are very understanding. We’ve had a few businesses that maybe couldn’t give at the same level with sponsorships and we totally understand,” said Shaw. “But they’re good community partners and they are supporting us in other ways.”

There are still 500 items this year, and organizers had a record year in sponsorships.

“They’ve really stepped up and they’ve helped us out. They are understanding and know that our kids and families need our help more than ever this year,” said Shaw. “We have gotten a lot of good support and we are very blessed with that.”

Shaw also said The Baby Fold did not lay off any of its employees this year.

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